March 5th - March 11th, 2004
Officials Revise WTC Design Guidelines
Friday, March 5: Responding to suggestions from architectural and planning communities, officials revised the WTC design guidelines, allowing increased freedom for unique and innovative building at the WTC site, according to the New York Post.
Some architects and planners criticized the original guidelines produced by master WTC architect and planner Daniel Libeskind as too restrictive. Those first standards specified that buildings at the site taper in a specific way, for instance. The new guidelines do away with that requirement, according to the Daily News.
Officials hope that the revised guidelines will solicit increased participation among architects and planners in the rebuilding project.
While the new plan offers more leeway, however, it still outlines several restrictions on elements such as building setbacks, the proportion of towers to their bases, rooftop angles, exterior materials, landscaping and sidewalks, reported the New York Times.
The 269-page guideline proposal is currently being reviewed for comment among design planners, architects and area officials, and is scheduled to be implemented later this spring, according to the Post.
Downtown Group Files Civil Action Suit Against EPA
Wednesday, March 10: A group of 12 Manhattan residents and workers filed a class action suit against the EPA for its alleged failure to ensure that environmental hazards resulting from the collapse of the WTC had been properly removed before it allowed residents back into the area, reported the New York Times.
The lawsuit estimates that the EPA failed to test and clean 17,000 homes and various workplaces before announcing the areas was safe for residents, said the Times. Since the lawsuit is a class action suit, other city residents who may have been affected by debris left from the 9/11 attacks are able to join.
Last week, a 17-member panel -- comprised of scientists, environmental experts, and one downtown resident -- convened to assess the effectiveness of the EPA's cleanup efforts downtown following the 9/11 attacks. The panel, chaired by the EPA's Dr. Paul Gilman, will retest 840 of the 4,200 apartments cleaned and evaluated by the EPA, reported the Times.
Officials Propose Temporary Buildings at WTC Site
Thursday, March 11: The New York City Planning Commission endorsed a plan to construct three small buildings along Church Street that will temporarily occupy the lot until the WTC towers are erected, reported the New York Times.
The proposed structures would be smaller scale buildings designed to serve as commercial structures -- called "taxpayers" -- and would house 310,500 square feet of retail space, said the Times. Officials hope that these businesses would produce the necessary income to cover property tax fees on the lot until the permanent towers are constructed.
Site planners are still deciding if the buildings would be demolished once the WTC towers are ready to be built or if they would be permanent structures, serving as "structural podiums" for the high-rise towers to be built upon, said the Times.
If approved, rebuilding officials hope to complete construction of the temporary structures in 2009, added the Times.
LMDC Pledges $3 Million to Tribeca Film Festival
Thursday, March 11: The LMDC announced that it will contribute $3 million to the Tribeca Film Festival over the next two years. The Festival, now in its third year, was created by Tribeca Film Institute founders Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal and Craig Hatkoff in response to the 9/11 attacks and seeks to foster the economic and cultural growth of Lower Manhattan.
"In the two years since the Tribeca Film Festival began, the event has become world-renowned and has succeeded in attracting close to a half million people to Lower Manhattan," stated Governor George Pataki.
The LMDC's contribution will help fund a variety of activities during the Festival, including various panels and workshops, the Tribeca Film Festival Guide, the Drive-In and the Tribeca Family Festival -- an all-day downtown street fair. The LMDC selected these programs and several others because they promote downtown culture and contribute to the area's revitalization.
The 2004 Tribeca Film Festival will run from Saturday May 1st through Sunday May 9th. For more information go to: www.tribecafilmfestival.org.
LMDC Sponsors Downtown Informational Conference for Women
Thursday, March 11: The LMDC will sponsor "Opportunity Downtown: Women Working" -- a free information conference designed to introduce women to careers in the construction industry -- on Wednesday, March 31st at Pace University.
The three-hour conference will feature hands on demonstrations from professionals in the painting, carpentry, tile-setting, plumbing and electrical trades, as well as panel discussions led by women in the construction industry.
"Women have worked hard to advance in the workforce and this is an excellent opportunity to participate in one of the largest rebuilding efforts in the history of New York," noted LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead.
"Opportunity Downtown: Women Working" was created in cooperation with the City and State of New York, the Women's Bureau, Nontraditional Employment for Women, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, Building Trade Employer's Association and the General Contractors Association.
For more information about the event and for instructions on how to register, go to www.renewnyc.com.