BREWER, Maine — A steel beam that once provided structural support for the World Trade Center in New York City soon will be on permanent loan to the city and will be displayed at the new public safety building.
The broken beam has a new role: to provide inspirational support for local firefighters, said Karl Ward, president of Nickerson & O’Day in Brewer, the company that is constructing the new $6.75 million police and fire station on Parkway South.
The New York-New Jersey Port Authority has decided to allow Brewer to display a piece of the crushed World Trade Center’s twin towers destroyed by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, Ward announced Thursday while giving a tour of the new facility.
“They have agreed to loan the city of Brewer a hand-picked, hand-selected piece of steel,” he said.
There also is a piece of the World Trade Center on display at a memorial set up in Pennsylvania, where hijacked Flight 93 crashed, killing all aboard seven years ago.
There are a couple of locations in the new public safety building where the steel might be displayed, Ward said, adding that “we’re going to survey police and firefighters who had brothers die that day, so they have some input on that.”
The unusable steel now is in Hangar 17 at John F. Kennedy International Airport on Long Island.
“We want a respectful display, with a U.S. flag and a picture of the World Trade Center,” Ward said.
The new public safety facility is under construction on Parkway South, across from Liberty Drive and adjacent to Interstate 395, in “an ideal location” for quick access to other parts of the city, Ward said.
The new facility, with approximately 30,000 square feet, will be shared by police and firefighters and will replace the tiny and deteriorating South Main Street location the two departments have shared for half a century.
The facility is actually two connected buildings — one that looks like an old colonial home on the right side of the site, with three floors of shared office space for both departments, and a firehouse on the left with living space for firefighters on the second level.
The goal of the design was to create a building that “looked like it had always been here,” Ward said.
Nickerson & O’Day worked with WBRC Architects-Engineers of Bangor as the design-build team.
Police officers and firefighters are expected to start moving in after Oct. 1.
“We’re really heading down the home stretch,” Ward said.
Workers on Thursday were busy laying carpet, wiring, painting and other activities.
“We have a building that will last at least another 50 years or more that was built on time, and on budget by Mainers,” Ward said. “That’s a big deal. It’s a huge deal for those people who work here. We’re proud to say that.”
The project is expected to finish $50,000 to $100,000 under budget, he said, adding, “It might be more than that.”
The World Trade Center steel should arrive to provide moral support to city firefighters by the time the building’s doors open and they are sent out to emergencies, Ward said.
“The hope is to have it here, and unveil it, at the ribbon cutting,” he said.