May 12th - May 18th, 2006
LMDC Chairman Resigns
Friday, May 12th: John C. Whitehead, the congenial and well-respected chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), announced on May 11th that he will resign his position at the end of May 2006, after more than four and a half years of spearheading the post-9/11 redevelopment efforts. "I have been both honored and humbled to have led the LMDC for the past four and a half years," Chairman Whitehead said. "Through the continuing work of the rebuilding, I am confident that Lower Manhattan will emerge better than ever."
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Ferry Service to Run Between Yonkers and Lower Manhattan
Friday, May 12th: Beginning in January, a ferry service will be offered between Yonkers and the World Financial Center, the New York Times reported. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation approved the $4.2 million needed to finance the ferry, whose opening will coincide with the Battery Park City terminal opening, the paper continued. The ferry operator will be named later this month, the Times added.
Memorial Design May Change
Friday, May 12th: World Trade Center Memorial designer Michael Arad may have to forego the planned waterfalls for his memorial design, "Reflecting Absence", the Daily News reported. Because the budget has escalated to twice the original $500 million estimated, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki are pressuring developers to lower the costs, the paper continued. Bloomberg recently suggested placing part of the memorial complex in the Freedom Tower, an option that is now being pursued, the News added.
According to the News, Pataki said he'd "like to retain as many, if not all, of the elements" of Michael Arad and Peter Walker's memorial design. Still, "there may be the need for some design changes to lower the cost," Pataki continued. Arad, who initially protested proposed changes to the design in a New York magazine article, has proven more flexible recently, telling Pataki and Bloomberg that he could give up the waterfalls.
Placing the memorial in the Freedom Tower could avoid upsetting the victims' family members who have objected to having the memorial underground, the News reported. "This isn't the time to start over," Richard Bell, the executive director of the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects, told the paper. Bell did suggest delaying the memorial construction, adding that the current design would likely require the entire $500 million budget, the paper added.
Deutsche Bank Deconstruction on Track
Saturday, May 13th: The abatement and deconstruction of the 130 Liberty Street building is on track, according to a Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) presentation to Community Board 1 on May 8th. At the meeting, LMDC spokesperson Michael Haberman explained that though the building's roof had already been cleaned and its abatement vetted by regulators, the recent discovery of a minimal amount of asbestos in a section of the roof ballast (gravel fill used to stabilize the roof) caused progress to be halted. Abatement and deconstruction has since resumed. For more on this story, click here.
WTC Cross Likely to Be Housed in WTC Museum
Saturday, May 13th: The iconic steel cross that has stood for months at Ground Zero will most likely find a permanent home in the World Trade Center Memorial Museum, the Daily News reported. According to Newsday, this information was revealed in a letter sent to Port Authority Executive Director Kenneth Ringler from World Trade Center Memorial Foundation President and CEO Gretchen Dystra.
"We believe the artifact comprises a key component of the narrative re-telling of the story of 9/11, in particular the role of faith in the events of the day and, particularly, during the recovery efforts," Dykstra wrote in the letter, according to Newsday. "The clergy groups fully endorse our understanding that as a public institution, the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation should present this artifact in a way that tells the story of 9/11 and not as an object of veneration," she continued.
The cross had been slated to be placed in temporary storage at JFK airport while the memorial and museum are constructed. After protests from area residents and Reverend Brian Jordan of St. Francis of Assisi Church in midtown, officials decided to place the cross outside St. Peter's Church at Barclay and Church Streets during the construction, the Daily News added. It will be moved to the memorial complex for the scheduled September 11, 2009, opening, the News continued.
Lawsuit against LMDC Dismissed
Wednesday, May 17th: The lawsuit brought by victim's family members against the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) to prevent them from building the World Trade Center Memorial on part of the north tower's footprint was dismissed by New York State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Kornreich, Newsday reported. Kornreich told the paper that the LMDC's efforts to consult with others "have been exhaustive and far beyond anything required by law," adding that the agency continues to consult with family members "in what can only be described as a commendable and sensitive manner, despite the fact that the obligation to consult ended long ago."
According to the paper, LMDC spokesman John Gallagher said, "This is a victory for the public process surrounding the selection and design of the memorial." According to Anthony Gardner, a member of the Coalition of 9/11 Families, the group may appeal the decision, Newsday continued. The group sued the LMDC days before preliminary construction began on the memorial in mid-March, the paper added.
Rampe Returns to Chair LMDC
Thursday, May 18th: One year after he stepped down as president, Kevin Rampe is returning to lead the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) as its chairman. Governor George Pataki made the announcement on May 18th, simultaneously appointing prominent tri-state developer Frank Sciame to lead the World Trade Center (WTC) Memorial's development within its allotted budget.
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