9/11 memorial at ground zero to open by 2011: officials

September 27th, 2008 - 1:29 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, Sep 27 (IANS) Officials have said they have come out with a new plan to complete the 9/11 memorial at ground zero in time ahead of the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York.Officials with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), a bi-state port district that runs most of the regional transportation infrastructure, have expressed confidence that under the new plan most elements of the memorial - a broad landscaped plaza, waterfalls that flow into two underground chambers where the twin towers stood, and parapet walls lined with the names of those killed in the attacks in 2001 and in 1993 - will be completed by August 2011, the New York Times reported Friday.

The twin towers collapsed hours after they were hit by two US planes hijacked by Al Qaeda militants Sep 11, 2001. More than 2,000 people were killed in that worst ever terrorist attack on the US.

City and Port Authority officials were reluctant to discuss the latest proposal because it is still subject to negotiations, as well as approval by authority commissioners. But local politicians and members of the community board that includes ground zero embraced the news, the newspaper said.

“We are working around the clock on a report that brings certainty to the schedule and budget for the whole site, including the memorial, and a path forward to completing each project as quickly as possible,” said Christopher O. Ward, the authority’s executive director.

“No final decisions have been made or will be made until that report,” he added.

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the memorial foundation have vigorously insisted in recent weeks that the $610 million memorial must be open to the public by Sep 11, 2011, a goal that the authority had until recently said was impossible.

“There are two years and 11 months until the tenth anniversary - and we need both a plan and a guarantee that the memorial will be open by that time. That’s the city’s priority, and we will continue to work with the port to develop a plan that can achieve it,” a spokesman for Bloomberg has said.

The rebuilding of ground zero has been hampered by competing political agendas, long delays, swelling costs and calamities, like the 2007 blaze at the former Deutsche Bank tower in which two firefighters died.

The building was severely damaged in the 2001 attack and is still being dismantled, the paper said.

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