April 8th - April 14th, 2005
Dykstra Named Head of World Trade Center Memorial Foundation
Friday, April 8: World Trade Center Memorial Foundation officials announced the appointment of New York City Consumer Affairs Commissioner Gretchen Dykstra to president and chief executive of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, the New York Times reported.
Dykstra, who was responsible for the redevelopment of Times Square in the 1990s, will lead the effort to raise $500 million for the World Trade Center Memorial and the construction of two of the four selected cultural facilities at Ground Zero -- the Freedom Center and Drawing Center. Both the Joyce Theater and Signature Theater Company will be part of a "second phase" project that includes a separate fundraising initiative, the paper explained.
"It's important, it's historic, it's unique, and it's doable," said Dykstra of her new post during an interview, the Times said.
According to the foundation's chairman, John C. Whitehead, fundraising efforts began several weeks ago and multiple large financial commitments have already been made. Dykstra is expected to take the lead in the fundraising effort in May, the paper noted.
The World Trade Center Memorial Foundation was created in December 2004 to raise money and oversee the WTC memorial and neighboring cultural buildings at the site. In addition to Dykstra, its members include David Rockefeller, Robert De Niro, Barbara Walters, and Michael Eisner, the Times added.
Wils Asked to Step Down as CB1 Chair
Monday, April 11:Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields issued a statement announcing her decision not to reappoint Madelyn Wils as chair of downtown's Community Board 1, the Downtown Express reported.
While some CB1 members are hoping to keep Wils on the board, co-chairperson Richard Kennedy has been appointed to replace Wils until a new election is held on June 20. Among those considered as likely candidates are Kennedy; Julie Menin, board member and Wall Street Rising founder; Anthony Notaro, who chairs the board's Battery Park City Committee; and Marc Ameruso, who ran against Wils for the seat last year, the paper said.
Wils, who served as Community Board 1 chairperson since 2000, was elected by the board's members to serve another two-year term just last June. Although Fields announced Wils' removal on April 6, her term expired retroactively on March 31, theExpress added.
LMDC Invites Public Input on Allocation Framework for Remaining Funds
Wednesday, April 13: The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) released a draft Funding Allocation Plan, inviting public comment and recommendations on the allocation of its remaining funds through May 1. The corporation also released a related report, "Guiding the Process: The Public Dialogue and Lower Manhattan Revitalization Initiatives," detailing the major themes of public input received over the past three years and projects funded by the LMDC to date.
Informed by more than 75 public meetings and tens of thousands of public comments, the allocation plan lays out the framework for distributing the remaining funds by listing principles, priorities, and allocation categories.
"From our inception we have continuously turned to the public for their input, and the release of this draft plan demonstrates our ongoing commitment to ensuring that everyone affected by the attacks of September 11th has a chance to have his or her voice heard," LMDC Chairman John C. Whitehead said in a statement. "We encourage the public to actively and meaningfully participate by commenting on the draft plan."
Based on public input, LMDC officials will finalize the plan in the coming months, after which its board of directors will begin to approve Partial Action Plans that will include specific projects recommended for funding. Additional opportunities for public comment on those projects will also be held.
The LMDC will host a public forum on the report and draft allocation plan on Wednesday, April 27, at 6 p.m. at the U.S. Customs House at 1 Bowling Green. "Guiding the Process: The Public Dialogue and Lower Manhattan Revitalization Initiatives" and the draft Funding Allocation Plan can be viewed in their entirety on the LMDC website.
To submit comments on the plan, email them to the LMDC directly on www.RenewNYC.com or send letters to: Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Attn: Draft Funding Allocation Plan, One Liberty Plaza, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10006.
Downtowns National Sports Museum to Showcase Heisman Trophy
Wednesday, April 13: The National Sports Museum being planned for downtown will showcase the Heisman Trophy -- an annual award given to the top college football player -- among its featured displays when it opens in November 2006, the New York Times reported.
The museum, which will be the first national museum to celebrate all sports in one location, announced an agreement with the Heisman Trophy Trust to house the trophy and create an exhibit using related historical artifacts and memorabilia. The arrangement allows for the Heisman to remain downtown, where it was first born. It was housed at the Downtown Athletic Club before its close four years ago, the paper said.
"It's exciting that the Heisman is coming home to help in the rebirth of Lower Manhattan," Philip Schwalb, the chief executive and founder of the National Sports Museum, told the Times.
The 100,000-square-foot museum, which will be located in the former Cunard Passenger Shop Line building on Broadway at Bowling Green, is being funded by $52 million in Liberty redevelopment bonds. According to Schwalb, more than 1.2 million guests are expected to visit the museum, which is in viewing distance of the former Downtown Athletic Club site. Construction on the building's interior is expected to begin in June, the paper added.
State Abandons Ground Zero Tunnel Plan, Opting for Boulevard Instead
Thursday, April 14:State officials announced that they will abandon the plan to convert West Street-Route 9A into a tunnel alongside the World Trade Center memorial and Freedom Tower sites, deciding instead to construct an eight-lane boulevard in its place, the New York Times reported.
The new boulevard, which will be built at the same grade as surrounding streets, will cost $700 million less than the proposed tunnel and take less time to build, given that it will require less materials and cause less disruption of utility lines and other nearby projects, including the Freedom Tower, the paper explained.
Despite Gov. George Pataki's previous endorsement of the tunnel, which he believed would serve to keep disruptive traffic underground and away from the WTC site, a Pataki spokesperson explained that the governor supports the decision to build a boulevard, saying it "is the result of an inclusive process which reflects the input of the community and other Lower Manhattan stakeholders." Both the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and Association for a Better New York also have expressed their support, the Times said.
The state Department of Transportation is expected to recommend the plan to construct the eight-lane boulevard to the Federal Highway Administration later this month. Should it be approved, an 18-month design process could begin as early as this summer. Once the design is in place, construction of the boulevard is estimated to take two years and have a total price tag of $225 million, depending on the number of pedestrian bridges and landscaping amenities, the paper added.
Mayor Announces Interim Plan to Reopen Park Row to Buses and Pedestrians
Thursday, April 14:Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced an interim plan to open Park Row from Chatham Square to City Hall Park to city buses and pedestrian traffic beginning May 15.
According to the plan, up to 200 buses per day will be able to travel through Park Row's New York City Police Department (NYPD) checkpoint for 90 days, after which the city will assess whether to increase bus traffic through the arterial.
Park Row has been closed to traffic and buses since late 2001, as part of increased security around 1 Police Plaza. The city and Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) are continuing efforts to develop a long-term plan to improve traffic and pedestrian access in the neighborhood.
Gov. Pataki Breaks Ground on New BPC "Green" Building
Thursday, April 14:Gov. George Pataki, the Battery Park City Authority, and Millennium Partners broke ground on a new 35-story "green" residential tower downtown.
Located at West Street and First Place, the 236-unit condominium will be the fourth "green" building to rise in Battery Park City. The tower will be comprised of recyclable construction materials and use energy strategies that make it 25 percent more efficient than New York state codes.
Included among the list of environmentally friendly features are solar rooftop panels, low-emission fixtures and materials, rooftop rainwater collection, and filtered air ducts to help residents reduce energy costs and conserve resources. Handel Architects, designers of the World Trade Center Site Memorial, is designing the "Millennium Tower Residences," slated for late-2006 completion.