Steel Recovered From the New York City’s Twin Towers Will Become the Centerpiece of Rise St. Pete

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9/11 Memorial Sculpture Breaks Ground in Downtown St. Petersburg

The Warehouse Arts District announces groundbreaking for Rise St. Pete, a monument and park that will serve as a poignant tribute to the 9/11 first responders and to the resiliency and strength of a nation that united together to rebuild after the tragedy. The concept for Rise St. Pete developed when a steel beam from the World Trade Center was recovered from underneath America’s Response Monument at the National September 11th Memorial Museum in New York City and given to the owners of American Freedom Distillery.

Located in the Warehouse Arts District of St. Petersburg, Florida, American Freedom Distillery is owned by former special operators that played instrumental roles in the American response to the terrorist attacks on 9/11 and who now reside in Tampa Bay. One of the partners, Mark Nutsch, was the commander of a daring team of Green Berets that fought the Taliban while mounted on horseback. His team was honored with a bronze horse soldier sculpture that is dedicated to the United States Special Forces, America’s Response Monument located at Ground Zero.

Being a proud member of the Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA), the partners of American Freedom Distillery found a natural and organic collaboration emerge with WADA leaders to create a permanent tribute in the district using the steel beam as the centerpiece. Working with WADA Executive Director, Diane Morton, they secured a vacant parcel on the corner of 5th Avenue South and 22nd Street that will become the location for Rise St. Pete. Just like the 9/11 first responders who have now retired or moved on to ”phase 2” of their lives with new business endeavors, the location embodies a community in transition and growth.

“WADA is honored to give the Rise St. Pete memorial a home. We understand the transformative, healing power of art, and know the impact this monument will have on residents, visitors, and the hundreds of thousands of active and retired first responders and military personnel who call Tampa Bay home,” added Morton.

When completed, Rise St. Pete will be a 20’ x 40’ monument with the WTC steel as its central focus. Designed by Mark Aeling of MGA Sculpture Studios, the monument and park will become a gathering place, spurring conversation and reflection by visitors of all ages.

An interactive fountain will surround the iron, and it will be guarded by a stunningly dramatic wing made from copper that was recovered during the recent renovation of the Statue of Liberty. The wing is indicative of a community rising and transitioning in new paths of growth.

Encompassing the memorial will be a blue tile arch, made locally at the Morean Center for Clay, and four trees – symbolic of the Callery Pear Tree that endured the attacks on the World Trade Center and became known as “The Survivor Tree.” Aeling wanted to create a monument that pays tribute to the past while providing a sense of hope for the future.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be selected to create this monument. Like a phoenix rises from the ashes ‘Rise’ is all about rebirth, looking forward as a community while honoring our past,” says Aeling.

Added American Freedom Distillery partner Scott Neil, “We all remember where we were when the terrorists attacked us on 9/11, but the next generation doesn’t have that same connection. Rise St. Pete serves as a powerful tribute to the heroes who responded and is a reminder for the next generation of the power we have when communities unite and help each other.”

Rise St. Pete breaks ground Veteran’s Day weekend to honor veteran’s affected by 9/11, the first responders to the attacks, those still fighting as a result of 9/11, and the honoring of communities that persevere through dark times.

Rise St. Pete Groundbreaking Ceremony
Time: 10:00 a.m., Saturday, November 10, 2018
Location: 5th Avenue South and 22nd Street
Groundbreaking event will coordinate with the Remember, Honor, Support Benefit Ride post-ride celebration at American Freedom Distillery

About Rise St. Pete
Rise St Pete is a 501(c)(3) non-profit governed by a Board of Directors. For those of us that remember 9/11, we knew the course of our nations' history change irreparably that day, and we still carry that feeling we had inside us. However, America's future generations, our children and grandchildren do not know the impact of that fateful day, and we hope that Rise St. Pete will become a moving vehicle to teach them. To donate, please visit risestpete.org.

About the Warehouse Arts District
The Warehouse Arts District Association (WADA) is a 501(c)3 non-profit arts organization dedicated to building and sustaining a vibrant arts community within and around the Warehouse Arts District in downtown St. Petersburg. Spanning from 1st Avenue North to 10th Avenue South and 16th Street to 31st Street, the Warehouse Arts District includes the Deuces Live Main Street and is comprised of a thriving community of over 300 businesses that support both the artistic outreach of the organization and the community revitalization. WADA employs a broad spectrum of tools, including marketing, advocacy, community stimulation, and educational programming to support the success of artists and community. The Education Center will serve all citizens, particularly those in the Midtown area, with accessible health, wellness, and art classes. For more information, please visit, warehouseartsdistrictstpete.com.

About the ArtsXchange
The ArtsXchange, a project of the Warehouse Arts District Association, is an artistic enclave with over 50,000 square feet of warehouse space that is being renovated into affordable working studios, galleries, classrooms, and performance space. ArtsXchange tenants are from all mediums with most spaces doubling as galleries open to the public on the Second Saturday of every month and a focus on providing arts education to underserved populations. For more info please visit, warehouseartsdistrictstpete.org/ArtsXchange.

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Sarah Lesch
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