Gotham Gazette

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The Governor's Projects for Lower Manhattan

On April 24, Governor George Pataki announced what he called a "bold, daring and swift" schedule for rebuilding lower Manhattan and new transportation projects downtown.

He pledged that the framework for Daniel Libeskind's 1776-foot tower will be complete by September 11, 2006, and that the governor's office will be the first tenant to move in when the building opens for occupants two years later.

He also said that a tunneled West Street, a project that has met much opposition and has been up in the air until now, will be finished by 2005, the same year that a fast ferry service will take commuters from lower Manhattan to Kennedy International Airport.

What Pataki has planned for lower Manhattan, year by year:

This summer, a new greenmarket, originally proposed by the City Council, will open in Liberty Park Plaza, at Broadway.

In September, a new high school at 75 Broad Street, called the Millennium High School, will open for 250 9th and 10th graders. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation will give $3 million toward the school project.

In November, the temporary PATH station will open, and PATH service to and from New Jersey will be restored.

A new enclosed bridge over West Street near Vesey Street will open, to connect the World Financial Center and Battery Park City to the rest of lower Manhattan. The walkway that already spans West Street at Liberty Street will be upgraded, and a new covered walkway on Liberty and Church Streets will be built.

This fall, a mural depicting Daniel Libeskind's 1,776 foot tower will replace the black shroud covering the Deutche Bank building. The bank is still negotiating the building's future with its insurance providers.

Pataki also called on the development corporation to spend $10 million in 2003 to improve open spaces in lower Manhattan, in Chinatown, the Lower East Side, and other neighborhoods. Last December, Mayor Michael Bloomberg called for these improvements in his vision for downtown. Pataki said that the development corporation will work with the city on these projects.

Pataki said that by the end of 2003 he will make a decision on how to connect lower Manhattan to Long Island and Kennedy International Airport by rail, whether to use existing tunnels and tracks or build a new, expensive tunnel underneath the East River.

Fast ferry service from lower Manhattan to La Guardia airport will begin late this year.

Fast ferry service will now be available to Kennedy International Airport as well.

Pataki said that work on a project to bury West Street from Vesey Street to Liberty Street (which has met opposition from community groups) will be finished in 2005, and West Street will be re-made as a promenade lined with trees.

Also in 2005, the reinforcement of the slurry walls which hold back the Hudson River on the west side of the memorial site will be finished.

By the fifth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, Pataki said, the frame of Daniel Libeskind's 1,776-foot tower -- which the governor has dubbed the "Freedom Tower" -- will be completed.

Libeskind's Wedge of Light plaza, a public space where no shadows will fall on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, will open in late 2006. The sunken area for the 9/11 memorial will be complete.

The permanent PATH station at the World Trade Center site will also open late this year.

The new South Ferry Subway Terminal will open.

Libeskind's tower, which Pataki said will be built by World Trade Center leaseholder Larry Silverstein, will be ready for tenants. Pataki pledged that the governor's office will be the first to move in to the new building. Of course, Pataki's own term ends in 2006, leading many to take his pledge as a sign that he plans to seek a fourth term.

The new subway station east of the World Trade Center site, the Fulton Transit Center, will open.

Underground pedestrian tunnels connecting the PATH station and the Fulton Transit Center will open. The extension of Greenwich and Fulton Streets through the World Trade Center site will also be finished.

Riders on the PATH train will now be able to ride all the way to Newark Liberty International Airport.

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