Rebuilding Roundup Archive: July 2003

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Friday, July 25

A new Congressional report on the September 11 attacks found that the FBI and CIA failed to exchange important information about the hijackers before the attacks and missed opportunities to stop the terrorists. According to the report, the CIA knew about two of the hijackers' connections to terrorism before 9/11 but did not share this information with the FBI. The Congressional report, released July 24, was based on nine public hearings and over a dozen closed sessions held last year.

On July 21, officials announced that about $50 million in federal 9/11 aid will be used to build affordable housing in lower Manhattan. The funds will subsidize the creation of more than 300 homes for families that earn between $50,000 to $85,000 per year.

Rebuilding officials said on July 22 that they had found an alternative place to build an underground parking lot for tourist buses near the World Trade Center memorial. The suggested site is on undeveloped land along West Street between Vesey and Murray Streets. Officials had originally suggested building the parking lot under the memorial itself, but many victims' family members strongly opposed this plan.

Friday, July 18

After an eight-hour negotiating session, architect Daniel Libeskind and World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein reached an agreement early on July 16 to work together on the 1776-foot tower envisioned by Libeskind in his plan for Ground Zero. The tower will be designed collaboratively with David Childs, an architect handpicked by Silverstein.

Silverstein was dissatisfied with Libeskind's original design, which he said lacked enough usable office space and would cost too much to build. A key sticking point was the placement of the 70-story tower's spire and antennae, which Libeskind had positioned unconventionally off-center. According to the collaboration agreement, Libeskind will send a group of architects from his firm to work directly under Childs.

5,200 people from 62 countries submitted designs for the World Trade Center memorial competition, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced on July 17. The number of entries makes the contest the largest design competition in history. During the summer, the memorial jury will narrow the competition down to five finalists.

Friday, July 11

Rebuilding officials are considering reducing the amount of office space built on the World Trade Center site, according to the New York Post. Planners have found that there is not enough room to fit the infrastructure for 10 million square feet of office space in the site, along with the memorial, transportation hub and other plans. Officials are discussing building just 8 million square feet of office space on the site instead.

The federal commission investigating the September 11 attacks said on July 8 that the Pentagon and the Justice Department have been slowing down the entire investigation by not responding quickly to the commission's requests for documents and testimony. The commission also said that the Bush administration's refusal to allow officials to be interviewed in private could harm the investigation.

Within a few weeks, a state judge is expected to rule on a lawsuit that downtown residents and politicians have brought against the city about Park Row. The street has been closed to most vehicles since 9/11 for security reasons, inconveniencing residents. The lawsuit would force officials to release an environmental impact statement about the closing. At a recent hearing, the judge told the city's attorney, "you seem to have undertaken a rather massive approach to a security problem without any thought as to the impact on the community."

Thursday, July 3

The number of lawsuits filed by members of the uniformed services against the city has increased dramatically from 171 in 2001 to 1,194 last year, according to a report by City Comptroller William Thompson. The increase is due to claims filed by firefighters and police officers seeking compensation for illnesses suffered after working at the World Trade Center site.

This week families of September 11 victims filed a lawsuit against the Port Authority, asking the court to make the authority comply with city building and safety codes. The Port Authority has claimed that it is exempt from local laws because it is under the jurisdiction of both New York and New Jersey.

Developer Larry Silverstein wants to move the 1776 foot Freedom Tower to another corner of the World Trade Center site, according to an article in the Daily News. In Daniel Libeskind's design, the tower is located on the corner of West and Vesey Streets; Silverstein's architect David Childs has reportedly drawn plans for the tower to be moved east to Church Street, making it closer to the future PATH terminal.

The PATH station at Exchange Place in Jersey City, closed since the September 11, 2001 terror attack on the World Trade Center, reopened this week. The train station, which was used by 16,000 commuters a day before the attack, was shut down because water from Ground Zero flooded the tunnels. The PATH is scheduled to reopen in lower Manhattan in November.


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