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9/11 Pentagon Memorial visitor center plans take a small step forward

Plans to build the long-planned 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center in Arlington National Cemetery could be gaining momentum.

There will be an in-person and virtual meeting next Wednesday, Sept. 6, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. to discuss the project.

The proposed building will have displays about the 184 individuals who lost their lives on 9/11 and the symbolism of the memorial’s design. There will also be permanent restrooms, shelter for visitors, a café, bookstore and conference space.

“While a memorial exists that honors the 184 lives that were lost as a result of the attack on the Pentagon, there is no [visitor education center] that provides an understanding of the events of that day, the lives lost, and the historic significance of the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Site,” per a report.

The education center is set to be located within the cemetery’s southern expansion, along Columbia Pike, which is being realigned to accommodate the cemetery’s expansion.

The meeting could be a sign of progress after years of stagnation, caused in part by delays to the start of realignment construction from early fall of 2021 to the spring of 2022.

Progress on the center is linked to the realignment work as the new roads will surround the site, Pentagon Memorial Fund executive director Jim Laychak previously told ARLnow. He did not respond before deadline to a request for an updated construction timeline.

Plans to build this facility have been in the works for years. The idea was first announced in September 2015 with a goal of opening in 2019 or 2020. Those years came and went, and then, the facility eyed a 2025 debut. At last check, the project is set to open in 2026 — the 25th anniversary of the attacks.

The center, estimated to cost roughly $100 million, will be financed with private donations — including a $2.5 million contribution from Amazon — as well as federal funding.

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