June 9th - June 15th, 2006
9/11 Firefighter Memorial Unveiled
Sunday, June 11th: A memorial to the 343 firefighters who died on September 11th was unveiled at "10 House," the home of Engine Company 10 and Ladder Company 10, located across Liberty Street from the World Trade Center site, the New York Times reported. The memorial, which consists of a six-paneled bronze relief sculpture featuring images of the flaming towers and firefighters on either side, measures a total of 56 feet and is located on the side of the firehouse, the paper continued.
Within minutes of the memorial's unveiling, family members and firefighters began making tracings of the inscribed names. "I wish his name was not on that wall," Miriam Juarbe, the mother of Firefighter Angel L. Juarbe Jr., told the Times. He made us proud. He gave too much."
The memorial features nine lighting fixtures to keep it illuminated at night. The final touch, 11 paving stones for the base made from the same granite as the Freedom Tower cornerstone, are awaiting city approval, the Times reported. The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation raised the funding for the monument, the paper continued, and President George W. Bush appeared in a videotaped message shown at the opening of the ceremony.
Harold Meyers, assistant chief of the Fire Department and the Manhattan borough commander, told the Times, "This is a 100-year monument. We wanted it to tell a story. One hundred years from now, we want you to look at this and say, 'This is what happened.'"
Blasting Starts for Freedom Tower Footings
Monday, June 12th: Construction crews began a sequence of bedrock blasts at the World Trade Center (WTC) site this week, part of the process of installing the footings from which the 1,776-foot-tall Freedom Tower will rise. Beginning with two successful tests on Monday, June 12th, production blasts have been cleared to proceed by Port Authority and fire department officials. For more on this story, click here.
WTC Memorial Plans Under Scrutiny
Tuesday, June 13th: Plans for the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum will be scaled back, and may be redrawn all together, depending on how construction executive Frank Sciame's plan is received by the Bloomberg and Pataki administrations, the New York Post reported. According to Newsday, the plan for Sciame to present a scaled-down version of the project has been called too secretive by a downtown councilman. Sciame's recommendations will be made available for public comment after they have been presented to the mayor and governor, the New York Sun reported.
"It may not be that you just get one report that says 'OK, this is what you do.' It may be that we have to go back to the drawing boards and it will take some time," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told Newsday. The paper also reported that Governor George Pataki would like Sciame to maintain the spirit of the original plan in the new proposal. The plan is being scaled down in order to keep the memorial and museum costs at the original budget of $500 million, the Sun stated.
Liberty Bonds Awarded for Ground Zero Rebuilding
Wednesday, June 14th: The Empire State Development Corporation approved $1.6 billion in tax-exempt bonds to build three office towers at the World Trade Center site, the Associated Press reported. The bonds, commonly referred to as Liberty Bonds, make up 20 percent of the Liberty Bonds issued by the federal government after September 11th in order to provide tax-exempt financing for the rebuilding effort downtown, the AP continued. The three buildings that will receive the bonds are under the control of developer Larry Silverstein, whose spokesman Bud Perrone told the AP, "with financing in place, we will begin construction of those towers as soon as the sites are made available." The newswire added that the remaining $3.35 billion will be directed to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to finance the building of the Freedom Tower and another building on the site.
Deutsche Bank Deconstruction Stalled
Wednesday, June 14th: The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) announced that plans to demolish the Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street have been postponed, the New York Times reported. The LMDC hopes to commence demolition, initially set to begin this month, later this summer, the paper continued. The paper reported that on Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) questioned the handling of waste materials from the tower located at 130 Liberty Street.
Concerns About Tenancy, Insurance Proceeds at Ground Zero
Wednesday, June 14th: Plans for the Freedom Tower may have to be scaled back if the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and New York State can't secure enough tenants, Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia announced to a group of business leaders at a Crains NY breakfast, the Daily News reported. The Port Authority and state have pledged to fill 1 million square feet, or 38 percent, of the building with government tenants, but many government employees, including some of those who work for the Port Authority, are apprehensive about returning to ground zero, the News continued. The authority is currently negotiating with the General Services Administration (GSA), which is the agency that handles real estate for the federal government, Newsday added.
According to the New York Post, Coscia told the business leaders that he is "very optimistic" about signing enough leases by the September deadline, but added that if that doesn't happen the authority will have to reconsider that component of the project and its impact on the project as a whole. "Our commitment to the Freedom Tower -- and it is a solid commitment, one we are not backing away from -- is contingent upon coming up with a financial plan that allows it to be built," he said, according to the Post.
According to the New York Times, the Port Authority is willing to also take on the construction of the WTC Memorial as long as the project has a financial plan. "There should be an understanding of where all the money necessary to build the memorial is coming from and also a plan for its operating expense going forward," Coscia told the Times. "I don't think the Port Authority should be responsible for cost overruns. I don't think we should be responsible for covering operating expenses."
Meanwhile, Senator Charles Schumer publicly called on the 24 insurers at ground zero to provide the $4.6 billion they have committed to rebuilding ground zero after developer Larry Silverstein warned that some of the insurers had indicated they might renege on their obligations, the Times reported.