Rebuilding Roundup Archive: June 2003

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Friday, June 27

Governor George Pataki is no longer supporting the proposal for the city and the Port Authority to swap ownership of Ground Zero and the Kennedy and La Guardia airports, according to a report in the Post. Port Authority Executive Director Joe Seymour reportedly said that the deal was "dead for now." The swap proposal was initially suggested by Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff last summer.

On June 24, the State Department of Transportation released two different preliminary options for redoing West Street. One, which makes a section of the street near Ground Zero a tunnel, would cost $860 million and take almost five years to build.

The second option creates a re-shaped roadway similar to what was there before September 11, 2001, with landscaped medians and better pedestrian access. This would cost about $175 million and take two and a half years to design and construct. Officials will make the decision about which option to build in November 2004.

Friday, June 20

Next month, workers will begin taking down the damaged Deutsche Building south of the World Trade Center site, long covered with black netting, according to news reports. Since 9/11, the bank had been in negotiations with its insurance companies over the future of the building. Although the bank has not officially announced that the building will be destroyed, last week the bank reached an agreement with the lead insurer that would allow the demolition of the building to begin.

Rebuilding officials reached an agreement on Wednesday giving architect Daniel Libeskind control over the design guidelines for the new transportation terminal at Ground Zero. Libeskind's firm will design the main hall in the transit station. The extent that the architect will be involved in the design of the 1,776-foot tower planned for the World Trade Center site is still being negotiated with leaseholder Larry Silverstein.

Earlier this week, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation also announced three new board members and made Kevin Rampe, who had served as interim president since early this year, the agency's permanent president.

Governor George Pataki told victims family members at a private meeting last week that he is personally against the proposed plan to build a bus garage underneath the 9/11 memorial. The governor told family members that he had asked rebuilding officials to look for alternate places to park the many buses that will bring visitors to and from the World Trade Center site.

Friday, June 13 A coalition of rebuilding civic groups held a news conference on June 11, urging officials to protect architect Daniel Libeskind's design for the World Trade Center site. The Civic Alliance said that the design has been "subject to attack from all sides," including a proposal to build one million square feet of retail space, leaseholder Larry Silverstein's call for another office tower and the push by downtown residents to bring the memorial space up to street level. The Civic Alliance released photos of how these changes could alter Libeskind's design, the images are available on the coalition's website.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation announced at its June 12 board meeting that it will hold a series of community meetings about how to spend the remaining $1.3 billion in federal rebuilding funds in its coffers. At the meeting, affordable housing advocates called on the development corporation to use the money to build mixed income housing.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that part of the development corporation's remaining funds should go to pay for his vision for downtown, including remaking the East River waterfront and building affordable housing. Governor George Pataki, however, has suggested that the money should go towards building transportation improvements.

Friday, June 6

At a May 28 public hearing, firefighters and their relatives told members of the jury selecting a design for the 9/11 memorial that the design must list the affiliations of fire fighters, police officers and rescue workers who died in the World Trade Center attacks. Some, holding up signs that said, "they went in together, let them stay together," said that the firefighters who died should be listed together with the members of their company, not listed alphabetically.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has said that the memorial shall be created "without hierarchy," but the memorial competition's rules do not specifically bar designers from including a victim's job, rank or title. The deadline for registering to enter the design competition was May 29. Those who registered will have until June 30 to submit their designs.

Family members of firefighters who died at the World Trade Center catastrophe are about to file a lawsuit requiring the Port Authority and other developers of the World Trade Center site to be legally bound by city fire and building codes. Those involved say the goal of the suit is not to oppose reconstruction of the World Trade Center site, but to assure that the safest possible building is built at Ground Zero. For more on the suit, see the story on Rebuilding NYC.

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