February 4th - February 10th, 2005
New K thru Grade 8 School to be Built Downtown
Friday, February 4: In response to the growing downtown population and overcrowding in many classrooms, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the creation of a new school to serve Lower Manhattan students from the kindergarten level through eighth grade. The $65 million, five-story school will fill approximately 100,000 square feet and create 600 seats for students. For complete coverage, please click here.
President Bush Endorses Downtown-JFK Rail Link Funding in Budget Plan
Monday, February 7: President George W. Bush proposed as part of his budget plan that $2 billion in unused 9/11 aid be dedicated to the construction of the proposed $6 billion rail link that would connect Lower Manhattan to John F. Kennedy International Airport and Long Island, the New York Times reported.
While the allocation still awaits approval by the U.S. Congress, the president's action reaffirms his support of the project, which he endorsed in July 2004 after persistent lobbying efforts by the mayor and governor, as well as key rebuilding officials and downtown business executives, the paper added.
"Obviously we have a ways to go here," Daniel Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development, told the Times. "But it is a very, very positive step."
With $560 million already committed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), the additional $2 billion in converted tax benefits is expected to leave city and state officials well positioned to raise remaining funds from other sources. "This rail link will thus be well ahead of the curve for funding among major transportation projects," wrote Gov. Pataki in his letter to the president last summer.
Projected to be completed in 2013, the $6 billion project would entail building a new tunnel under the East River between Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan that would provide direct service from the World Trade Center to the Long Island Rail Road's Jamaica Station. Once the tunnel is constructed, the rail line could utilize the existing Montague Tunnel, currently used by the M and N/R subway lines, to complete the connection to the airport.
For more information about the project's funding, please click here.
Chinatown Partnership LDC Ready for Business
Monday, February 7: The Chinatown Partnership Local Development Corporation (LDC) announced the induction of 10 new members to its board of directors, which will lead the organization in improving business conditions and strengthening Chinatown's position as a center for both culture and commerce.
"Chinatown is not just one of New York City's premier tourist destinations," said David J. Louie, chairman of the 15-member board. "With more than 4,000 businesses employing more than 40,000 people, we are truly one of the engines helping drive our city's economy. The revitalization of Chinatown is a critical element in the recovery of Lower Manhattan."
The LDC has been meeting with representatives of Mayor Bloomberg's office, the city Department of Small Business Services, and the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), as well as local officials, to develop an agenda for the next two years.
Some upcoming LDC projects and activities may include supporting and promoting cultural events, marketing initiatives in collaboration with the Explore Chinatown campaign, creating a heritage trail of historic sights, installing art and improving the landscape of Chatham Square, and developing a community street cleaning project.
The group, which initially formed in September 2004, was established largely with the help of the September 11th Fund, the Bloomberg Administration, and several local community officials.
New Staten Island Ferry Terminal Opens
Tuesday, February 8: Mayor Michael Bloomberg made official the grand reopening of the new, $201 million Whitehall Ferry Terminal. Nearly double the square footage of the original terminal, the new Whitehall has all the bells and whistles of a contemporary 24-hour public transit station, along with stunning views of New York Harbor and the downtown skyline. For complete coverage, please click here.
Chinatown Festivities Ring in Lunar New Year
Wednesday, February 9: Lunar New Year celebrations, which began officially in Chinatown on February 9, help ring in year 4703 on the lunar calendar, the Year of the Rooster. Also known as Chinese New Year, the celebration will last for 15 days, bringing with it the observation of many ancient traditions.
Officials Seek Funds to Cover Additional Costs Relating to the Deconstruction of 130 Liberty Street
Thursday, February 10: Due to findings of increased levels of hazardous contaminants in the former Deutsche Bank Building at 130 Liberty Street, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) requested the ability to make available an additional $45 million to thoroughly clean the structure before it can be dismantled, the New York Times reported.
While rebuilding officials expected to begin the deconstruction of the 40-story tower, which was irreparably damaged during the 9/11 attacks, in December 2004, they now estimate that the project will not start until midyear at the earliest, the paper said.
Financing for the project will be covered initially by the LMDC, but according to the 2004 agreement the agency made when it acquired the building, its liability is capped at $45 million. The LMDC has already committed the full $45 million through the contract it entered into with the Gilbane Building Company to dismantle the building. As a result, the LMDC expects to be reimbursed for the extra money now determined necessary to complete the project, the majority of which is expected to come from Deutsche Bank and its insurers, the Times explained.
According to the 2004 agreement, the insurers of the building are required to pay for any increased costs that result from complying with legal requirements surrounding the cleaning and disposal of contaminated debris, dust, and mold. As the building's former owner, Deutsche Bank could be responsible for any material, such as tiles and caulking containing asbestos, that was in the building prior to 9/11, the Times said.
Once 130 Liberty is dismantled, the site will be redeveloped and become home to a small park, a Greek Orthodox Church, and Tower 5 of the new World Trade Center complex, the paper added.
To learn more about the planned deconstruction of the former Deutsche Bank building, please visit the LMDC website or click here.