Memorial Breaks Ground Today

0313memorial Memorial Breaks Ground Today
A new rendering of the memorial, released today.

Construction is to begin today on the World Trade Center memorial. Expect lots of cable coverage starting at 1:30 p.m. today, when a new animation depicting the memorial will be downlinked via satellite, and a press conference held at the site with all of the worthies running the show.

Says the AP:

Gov. George Pataki last week called the event “a very important milestone,” but no groundbreaking ceremony was planned for the next several weeks.

So why the sudden change?

Officials said they wanted to meet a schedule to build the memorial by 2009.

Or, more likely, to ensure that their thunder doesn’t get stolen by families of 9/11 victims who are in court today to try to block the construction:

The Coalition of 9/11 Families last week filed a lawsuit charging that the memorial would damage the historic footprints. Preservation groups have made similar arguments in letters to rebuilding officials. A court hearing was scheduled Monday, and other family members planned a protest rally.

“There is always opportunity until concrete is poured,” said Rosaleen Tallon, the sister of a firefighter killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Well, no concrete today. In fact, when can you really say construction begins on a site? Here’s what they’re doing today:

Ten workers will begin cleaning the memorial site Monday, checking the World Trade Center footprints for damage and installing protective coverings over parts of the original foundation to begin building the memorial, officials said.

- Tom McGeveran