Governor George E. Pataki today announced that the construction of the Freedom Tower will proceed undeterred and that all other key elements of the rebuilding will continue on schedule. The Governor also outlined a process to restore confidence in the rebuilding and ensure that the Freedom Tower redesign will move forward without delay.
The Governor named new hands-on leadership to ensure the rebuilding efforts reach critical milestones. He called upon his top advisor, John Cahill, to lead and coordinate the efforts of the LMDC, Port Authority, Empire State Development Corporation, Department of Transportation, and the Battery Park City Authority and serve as point person on the negotiations with NYPD, Silverstein Properties, Goldman Sachs, and the City of New York. Many of John Cahill’s day-to-day responsibilities will be assumed by First Deputy Secretary to the Governor William Howard and Senior Policy Advisor Jeffrey Lovell.
The Governor charged his Senior Advisor for Counter-Terrorism James Kallstrom, former head of the FBI’s New York division, to ensure the highest security standards for the building as plans for the Freedom Tower move from concept to concrete.
The Governor also named Stefan Pryor as President of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. The Board is expected to confirm his appointment next Thursday. Mr. Pryor has been an effective leader with the LMDC since its inception and he currently holds the position of Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs.
Speaking at an Association for a Better New York luncheon at Cipriani Wall Street, the Governor also detailed a joint agreement with the Mayor for the remaining funds of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) which include a $300 million contribution to the Memorial and funding for the completion of Tribeca section of Hudson River Park, the deconstruction of Fiterman Hall, transformation of Lower Manhattan’s waterfront, and enhanced community amenities for Lower Manhattan. The Governor also announced major new milestones in the rebuilding effort, including concrete timelines and new funding for a vital transportation project and the realization of the memorial and cultural buildings.
Process to Ensure Expeditious Re-design of the Freedom Tower “September 11 saw the Twin Towers fall, now let’s make the Freedom Tower rise. Let’s move forward in unity, and rededicate ourselves to the sacred task of rebuilding Lower Manhattan,” said Governor Pataki.
The Governor announced that the re-design of the Freedom Tower would be complete and unveiled by the end of June. He also announced that the NYPD has signed-off, allowing for the re-design to move forward expeditiously.
The Governor also insisted that the Freedom Tower will remain a beacon of freedom for the entire world. He stipulated that the building’s new design would be consistent with Daniel Libeskind’s Master Site Plan, the building would remain in the northwest corner of the site, and that it would soar to 1,776 feet tall.
Memorial to Break Ground Early Next Year, Significant LMDC Contribution will Ensure Completion“It is imperative that we provide the resources needed to honor the heroes we lost on September 11th,” said Governor Pataki. “We will be committing $300 million to the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation. We will break ground by March of 2006 ensuring we keep our promise to the families and open the memorial as scheduled by September 11th, 2009.”
The Governor cited remarkable progress on the centerpiece of the rebuilding efforts, the memorial to the lives lost on September 11, 2001, including the creation of a 27-foot replica of a memorial fountain and the tagging of New York State trees in upcoming months to comprise the Memorial Grove. The Governor announced that the first bid package will be completed by the end of the year, paving the way for construction to begin on schedule by March of 2006 for opening by September 11, 2009.
The Governor also announced that schematic design on the interpretive memorial center would be complete by June and that next week that along with Mayor Bloomberg, the schematic design for the cultural building that will house the memorial visitor’s center and the International Freedom Center and Drawing Center will be revealed.
The Memorial Foundation formed six months ago and led by Chairman John C. Whitehead and President Gretchen Dykstra will be given a $100 million immediate grant with a challenge grant of an additional $200 million bringing its total contribution to the memorial and cultural complex to $300 million. Other interim initiatives for families and visitors to the site have already been funded and will be realized in June when construction on the Tribute Visitor’s Center immediately adjacent to the World Trade Center Site will begin construction, and a Story Booth at the temporary PATH station, where family members, rescuers, and survivors can recount their memories of the day, will be opened.
LMDC Funds to Revitalize Downtown
“We’re going to deploy resources to expand our progress both on and off the Trade Center site. With the benefit of extensive public input Mayor Bloomberg and I have developed a comprehensive plan consistent with the framework and the vision we set forth,” said the Governor.
The Governor announced that in collaboration with Mayor Bloomberg, a comprehensive allocation plan has been developed to fund over a dozen off-site projects and initiatives that will rejuvenate both sides of Lower Manhattan’s waterfront, transform even more parks and open spaces, create and connect neighborhoods, improve local transportation, and create new community amenities. The Governor and Mayor will release more details on the allocations in the upcoming week.
A copy of the Governor’s address is available on www.renewnyc.com.