May 20th - May 26th, 2005
Downtown Chapel Dedicated as Catholic Memorial at Ground Zero
Monday, May 23: At a service attended by 300 parishioners and guests, Edward Cardinal Egan dedicated St. Joseph's Chapel as the Catholic memorial at Ground Zero, the Post reported.
During his address, Egan told the congregation, "This is a chance for us to have a place down in the part of New York where people can come and say a prayer if they like," the paper said.
Located near the World Trade Center, the small chapel was significantly damaged by debris, smoke, and dust during the September 11, 2001, attacks. It was temporarily used as a command post in the days immediately following and reopened to parishioners a year later, the Post explained.
The renovated church features a selection of original artwork, including sculptures of St. Florian, patron saint of firefighters; St. Michael the Archangel, patron saint of police officers; and St. Joseph, patron stain of workers, the paper noted.
Allocation Plan for Remaining LMDC Funds Announced
Wednesday, May 25: Lower Manhattan's future will hold more affordable housing, better streets and transportation, improved parks and waterfront space, and a new East Side elementary school, among many other enhancements, according to a plan announced Wednesday by the mayor and governor for the allocation of the remaining Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) funds. These initiatives come in addition to significant support of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, which forms the centerpiece of the funding plan. For complete coverage, click here.
Fiterman Hall Gets Funding
Wednesday, May 25: The demolition of downtown's Fiterman Hall at 30 West Broadway may begin within a year, thanks to a $15 million allocation to the project announced by Gov. George Pataki as part of an allocation plan for the remaining Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) funds.
Since 1993, the 15-story structure served as an extension of the City University of New York's Borough of Manhattan Community College's (BMCC) downtown campus until it was badly damaged on September 11, 2001. The combination of state, city, and LMDC funds, as well as a $90 million insurance settlement received last year, will cover demolition of the damaged structure and construction of a new one in its place.
While a timeline for the project has yet to be finalized, the university has already selected Pei Cobb Freed & Partners for the building's clean-up, demolition, and reconstruction.
Cahill Gets a Jump on Rebuilding Plans
Wednesday, May 25: In just two weeks since being appointed by Gov. George Pataki to oversee the downtown rebuilding effort, John P. Cahill has taken several actions to advance rebuilding projects at the World Trade Center site, the New York Times reported.
This week, Cahill traveled to Washington, D.C., to discuss the use of $2 billion in tax credits that President Bush has approved to pay for a rail link between Lower Manhattan and Kennedy Airport.
"I'm trying to reintroduce myself to the folks down here," Cahill told the Times in a phone interview, "and to emphasize how important this is not just to Lower Manhattan but to the entire United States."
Meanwhile, in an effort to expedite the deconstruction of the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street, which was irreparably damaged during the 9/11 attacks, Cahill canceled the contract with the company initially hired to lead the project. Since federal officials determined that the high levels of contaminants found in the building require a more thorough decontamination and deconstruction process, Cahill concluded that the change in the project's scope required the project to be re-opened to bidding. The Gilbane Company, which held the original $45 million contract, will be invited to rebid on what will be either two or three contracts, one of which will be for scaffolding only, the paper explained.
Cahill has also proposed converting 1 Liberty Plaza, which houses the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), the Memorial Foundation, and the site's new construction command center, into a "bull's-eye" for meeting and discussions among agencies, the Times added.
EPA Holds Public Meetings on Plan to Test Buildings for Post 9/11 Contaminants
Wednesday, May 25: The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held public meetings on its draft plan to test a sample of 150 buildings in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn for remaining contaminants from the World Trade Center collapse, the New York Times reported.
Responding to public criticisms that the plan is inadequate, E. Timothy Oppelt, the EPA's acting assistant administrator for research and development, stressed that the draft plan is still evolving. "There have been a huge number of additions and modifications to the plan reflecting that we've accepted recommendations from the public," Oppelt told the Times.
The draft plan calls for an extended inspection of dust and debris in business and residential buildings along the Brooklyn waterfront and as far north as Houston Street in Lower Manhattan. In 2002, the EPA's testing and cleanup effort was restricted to buildings in Manhattan south of Canal Street. An expert advisory panel created to evaluate the EPA's original testing report in 2003 called for additional, more extensive testing, the paper explained.
A team of inspectors will search for contaminants, such as asbestos, lead, glass fiber, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, throughout 150 of the nearly 7,000 buildings within the study's designated boundaries. The plan relies on building owners volunteering to have their properties sampled, resulting in criticisms that the process will not be as conclusive as it could be, the Times noted.
Officials Break Ground on Downtown Residential, Retail and Community Center
Thursday, May 26: Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined New York City and State officials to break ground on a combination residential, retail, and community recreational facility in Tribeca.
The project, called "200 Chambers Street," will feature a 30-story tower along West Street that will house residential condominiums, retail amenities, parking, and a 27,600-square-foot community facility. Additionally, the city Department of Education plans to lease an estimated 10,000 square feet of space over a ten-year span as an annex to P.S. 234.
"This is a great achievement for the residents of Tribeca and for the entire Lower Manhattan community," Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. "This project … marks another milestone in the transformation of the downtown area into a truly round-the-clock community."
The developer, West-Chambers Associates, purchased the site from the city for $40.5 million and expects to complete the project in late 2006.