Special Projects

National World Trade Center Memorial

Long Island Compost has played a major role as soil supplier to some of New York City’s most ambitious municipal projects, from the popular Highline in lower Manhattan to the massive Brooklyn Bridge Park currently under development at the former Brooklyn Navy Yards. However, one project towers above all others in importance, and that is Long Island Compost’s selection as soil supplier to the National World Trade Center Memorial at Ground Zero.

The National 9/11 Memorial honors the nearly three thousand people who died in the attacks of February 26, 1993, and September 11, 2001. The Memorial, which is scheduled for completion in 2011, will consist of two massive pools set within the footprints of the Twin Towers. The names of the nearly 3,000 individuals who perished will be inscribed around the edges of the Memorial pools. Surrounding the pools will be an eight-acre Memorial Plaza.

The Memorial Plaza

The Memorial Plaza

Created by architect Michael Arad and landscape architect Peter Walker, the Memorial Plaza will be one of the most sustainable, green plazas ever built, consisting of nearly 400 Swamp White Oak trees selected from within a 500-mile radius of the World Trade Center site, with additional trees coming from locations in Pennsylvania and near Washington, D.C. (Maryland). Critical to sustaining the trees is the soil in which they are being planted. As the tri-state area’s premier supplier of engineered soils, Long Island Compost was given the task of creating a soil mix that would match the exacting specifications necessary for the trees to flourish in a challenging urban environment.

“The Memorial Plaza actually sits atop a 70-foot, below-grade building that houses a museum, a train station, and other facilities that fill the chasm left by the events of 9/11,” explained Long Island Compost President and CEO Charles Vigliotti. “In order to grow healthy trees in this context, the trees on the Memorial quadrant are being installed in a suspended paving system. The paving of the plaza will rest on a series of pre-cast concrete tables that ‘suspend’ the Plaza over troughs of Long Island Compost planting soil that run the full width of the Plaza.”

The suspended paving system will allow the soil to remain un-compacted so that a tree’s roots can extend through the soil to gather water and nutrients. Thanks to the 25,000 cubic yards of specially mixed soil currently being delivered by Long Island Compost, the 9/11 Memorial Plaza’s irrigation, storm water harvesting, and integrated pest management systems will ensure sustainable treatment of the site and conserve energy, water and material resources.

The Memorial Plaza’s large urban forest will link to adjacent green spaces at Battery Park City, City Hall Park, the churchyards at Liberty Church and St. Paul’s Chapel, Liberty Plaza, and the new Liberty Park just to the south of the Memorial, providing habitat and green space within Lower Manhattan. Many of these sites already feature soil mixes developed by Long Island Compost.

“By reminding the visitor of the natural cycle of life, the National World Trade Center Memorial Plaza will convey a spirit of hope and renewal,” concluded Vigliotti. “Long Island Compost is extremely honored and proud to be playing a critical role in its development. Our work here will live on for generations to come.”