Saturday, March 11th: In the week leading up to the WTC Memorial groundbreaking, a group of 9/11 victims' family members, Coalition of 9/11 Families Inc., filed a petition to halt the memorial construction because they believe the design does not do justice to the memory of the victims, the Associated Press reported.
The main concerns of those protesting the current design are that the memorial, and the name placards, will be below street level and that the footprints of the towers will not be preserved in their entirety, the AP continued. Some family members also take issue with the name placards being placed in random order, according to the newswire.
Monday, March 13th: Wearing reflective white and yellow hard hats, construction workers descended early Monday morning into the World Trade Center site to begin the official construction of the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum. To learn more, click here.
Thursday, March 16th: The March 14th deadline for developer Larry Silverstein and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to work out their differences, set by Governor George Pataki, has passed without an agreement being reached, local papers reported. According to the New York Times, the Port Authority wants Silverstein to give up control of the Freedom Tower and a second building, but the proposed terms were not acceptable to Silverstein, who continues to pay his $10 million lease every month. The city and state are concerned that Silverstein will run out of funds before completing the large undertaking, Newsday added.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a statement, adding: "In order for Lower Manhattan to continue and grow as one of the world's pre-eminent business centers, it is essential that the World Trade Center site be built out correctly, completely, and as quickly as possible. It is time for Silverstein Properties to temper its individual interests and focus on what's best for New York City."
Silverstein Properties spokesman, Howard J. Rubenstein, told the Times: "The Silverstein organization is available and willing to resume intensive, around-the-clock discussions as soon as the Port Authority is ready. This temporary setback can and must be overcome with Governor Pataki's leadership, and with the good faith efforts of all parties. We believe we can quickly finalize this agreement that will assure speedy rebuilding of the World Trade Center."
The Port Authority lead negotiator, Charles Gargano, told Newsday: "The motivation [of Silverstein] is in my opinion to get as much money out of the project as possible."
Pataki announced that he would not reopen negotiations and gave Silverstein an ultimatum: Start building the Freedom Tower in April, or get out of the way, the Times added.