November 25th - December 1st, 2005
Congress Promises Return of 9/11 Aid
Tuesday, November 22: After a year of negotiations, a top member of the U.S. House of Representatives pledged to return $125 million in unused September 11 aid to the State of New York, the Associated Press reported.
Under the arrangement put forth by Congress, $75 million of the funding will be earmarked for medical and mental health treatment primarily for the New York Fire and Police Departments, to include screenings, examinations, and care. The remaining $50 million will be allocated to the New York State Uninsured Employers Fund and to paying claims filed by rescue personnel who were injured or killed, AP said.
Originally intended to cover increased worker compensation costs associated with the 9/11 attacks, the $125 million was taken back by the federal government because it had not been spent by the state. New York lawmakers objected to the decision, arguing that the funding was part of the $20 billion pledged by President George W. Bush to help the city rebuild, AP explained.
Congress is expected to include the $125 million aid agreement in the upcoming emergency appropriations bill to fund the recovery and rebuilding efforts for hurricanes Katrina and Rita, AP added.
LMDC Estimates WTC Memorial Costs at $490 Million
Wednesday, November 23: According to the first estimate released by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) in almost two years, the price tag of the World Trade Center Memorial and accompanying museum is estimated to reach $490 million, the New York Times reported.
The larger portion of the construction costs -- $330 million -- will be earmarked for the memorial. An estimated $240 million of it will be used for the actual construction of the memorial, including its twin voids, waterfalls, and pools and its landscaped plaza and galleries. The additional $90 million includes architectural and engineering fees, as well as construction management expenses. The underground memorial museum will cost up to $120 million to build, with fees and expenses reaching $40 million, the paper explained.
The estimates were made public as the possibility of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey taking over construction of the memorial continued to grow. Earlier in the week, Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed support of the proposal and noted that the agency's offer to guarantee no cost overruns on the project was particularly appealing, the Daily News reported.
"If the Port Authority can offer the ability to guarantee costs and provide greater efficiency…we think this proposal merits serious consideration," Pataki said in a statement, the paper reported.
The Port Authority, which owns the 16-acre WTC site, is already building the permanent WTC PATH, finalizing plans for an underground vehicle security center, and developing stores along the Church Street section of the site, the News added.
9/11 Survivors Seek Preservation of WTC Staircase
Friday, November 25: Survivors of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center have launched a preservation effort to maintain the Vesey Street staircase, the former WTC's last above-ground remnant, the New York Times reported.
The staircase, also called "survivors' stairway," was used by many of those who escaped the WTC site during the 9/11 attacks. While slightly damaged, the two flights of stairs remain next to what was once the base of an escalator to the site's elevated plaza. They also stand within the construction framework for Tower 2, the office tower planned by Silverstein Properties, the paper explained.
According to rebuilding officials, the possibilities for preserving the staircase include moving it to another location at the WTC site, incorporating it as an architectural feature attached to or enclosed by Tower 2, or revising plans for Tower 2 to avoid the staircase entirely -- an option viewed as the least likely, the Times said.
"It's certainly a very significant remembrance of what happened that day," Charles A. Gargano, vice chairman of the Port Authority, told the Times. "Somehow I hope that it can be preserved somewhere in the site, if not within Building 2."
Along with the World Trade Center Survivors' Network, the New York Landmarks Conservancy and Municipal Art Society have joined the preservation effort. Each group hopes that the stairs can stay rooted in their original location, the paper added.
Animation Details Deutsche Bank Demolition Plans
Monday, November 28: The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) released a computer-generated video depicting the yearlong multi-stage process planned for deconstruction of 130 Liberty Street, formerly the Deutsche Bank Building, which was severely damaged during the September 11, 2001, attack on the World Trade Center. For complete coverage, click here.
Pataki Appoints Final Member to LMDC Board
Wednesday, November 28: Gov. George Pataki appointed longtime business leader Robert Douglass to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Board of Directors, completing the board's 16-member roster, which includes top advisers to Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Associated Press reported.
Douglass, 74, currently serves as the chairman of the Alliance for Downtown New York and the Downtown-Lower Manhattan Association. A lawyer, Douglass also served as secretary to the late Gov. Nelson Rockefeller and as commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the early 1970s, AP explained.
Earlier this month, Pataki and Bloomberg made several new appointments to the LMDC board. Seeking to increase the City of New York's role in the downtown rebuilding effort, Bloomberg announced six new appointments, including Deputy Mayors Daniel L. Doctoroff and Marc Shaw. Pataki tapped two members of his administration for the roles, Charles A. Gargano, the state's top development official, and James Kallstrom, the governor's senior adviser for counterterrorism.
The new, 16-member board consists of equal numbers of appointees by the governor and mayor. Until November, it had been operating with only 10 members, AP added.
Goldman Sachs Breaks Ground on New Headquarters
Wednesday, November 30: Ceremonial shovels dug into the plot at West and Vesey Streets, heralding the start of construction on a glimmering new 43-story tower that will serve as Goldman Sachs's world headquarters come 2009. The groundbreaking drew regional VIPs who praised the banking and trading firm for reinvesting in Lower Manhattan -- its home neighborhood since it was founded in 1869. For complete coverage, click here.