Local
7:25 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Flight 93 Group Seeks Funds in Washington

Members of the group Families of Flight 93, which includes relatives of the passengers and crew of the doomed flight, are in Washington, D.C. this week, seeking $3.2 million out of $10 million still needed to finish the national memorial.

"It's an important memorial to our country, to the memory of all the heroes who were lost on September 11 ten years ago, and it's really just a matter of finding the proper balance between private and public funding to get the project done," said Gordon Felt, president of Families of Flight 93. His brother, Edward Felt, was a passenger.

The group met with lawmakers, including Democratic Senator Bob Casey, Republican Senator Pat Toomey, Republican Representative Bill Shuster, and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.

$52 million in state, federal and private money has already gone to the $62 million memorial; this week, the group is in Washington asking for more funding. They're seeking $3.2 million from the federal government, and the rest from other sources. Once the funding is secured, construction on the second phase of the memorial can begin.

"Which entails the visitor's center, the educational center, the portal walls that will outline the flight path of Flight 93, the 40 memorial groves, all of those will be completed with the next phase; we anticipate we'll have that aspect of fundraising complete by May of 2012," said Felt.

He said interest in private giving has increased since the recent 10th anniversary of 9/11, and with wide bi-partisan support for completion, problems securing the remaining funds aren't foreseen. On Friday, the group will hold more meetings with National Parks Foundation officials to discuss fundraising. They have more congressional visits scheduled as well.

The memorial has already drawn some 1.5 million people since September 11, and officials estimate it will continue to draw about 225,000 per year upon completion.