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Take Back the Memorial Campaign to Claim Snohetta Building

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:12 pm    Post subject: Take Back the Memorial Campaign to Claim Snohetta Building Reply with quote

For Immediate Release

Contact Bill Doyle, 718 9482538 or (347) 236-0885

Take Back the Memorial Launches Campaign to Claim Snohetta Building for an Above Ground 9/11 Museum

New York, New York--January 25, 2006-- Governor Pataki’s promise that the 9/11 memorial quadrant at Ground Zero would be reserved for 9/11 exclusively following the withdrawal of the IFC and Drawing Center left people asking: “ What will happen to the Snohetta building now that it has no tenants?” The prevailing logic was that Snohetta would not be built, primarily because fundraising for the memorial was in disarray.

Earlier this month, however, Governor Pataki announced he would set aside $80 million dollars to build a smaller version of the Snohetta building. This is surprising considering that the Governor himself has yet to make a donation to the 9/11 memorial. Not that we blame him. The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) has allowed the design process for the memorial and museum to run amok.

Last night family leaders from Take Back the Memorial attended a meeting with Stephan Pryor, president of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC), and members of his design team. Once again we objected to LMDC’s misguided plans to bury the story of 9/11 in an entirely subterranean museum. We voiced concerns that LMDC had not allocated enough space for the memorial and museum to accommodate the number of proposed visitors. The failure of the LMDC to design enough space to accommodate the number of proposed visitors is not a new concept. It is one that we have raised consistently and one that LMDC has ignored for years. Last summer, the lack of appropriate space for a 9/11 museum figured prominently in the IFC debate. And once again it is being ignored. Timed ticketing and controlling the number of visitors allowed to enter the LMDC’s underground maze of museum and memorial will result in numerous visitors being turned away.

We also learned the LMDC has not directed Craig Dykers, Snohetta’s architect, to design the building so that it can accommodate heavy artifacts that people associate with the 9/11 tragedy (such as the façade, crushed fire trucks, etc.). The story of 9/11 and its victims deserve a prominent presence at street level. Instead, LMDC has buried the story, putting the safety and security of future visitors in peril.

Our leadership was encouraged when James Kallstrom, Governor Pataki’s Senior Advisor on Counter Terrorism, assured us the memorial and museum would be built under the legal jurisdiction of NYC and FDNY building and fire codes. This was the first time we’ve received such a promise.

In addition to the security concerns associated with an underground museum, it is fitting to show, above ground for the entire world to see, artifacts like the tower façade and sphere. This above ground museum will teach people about that day, its victims, and stories of loss and triumph.

Plans to build a totally underground museum will defeat the purpose of maintaining the historic authenticity of this site. The current design plan has part of the north tower footprint allocated to the memorial, part of it allocated to the museum. LMDC is obliterating most of both tower footprints at bedrock by filling them in with exhibit space for the museum and other infrastructure. LMDC is not preserving the footprints at bedrock, as previously promised by the Governor, and there will be no place in this current design where visitors will see or understand the scale of the towers or the loss of life.

We continue to wonder why the LMDC is so determined to break ground on March 13 when there are so many unanswered questions and so many design elements, which have not been explored. Modifications to these designs must be made prior to the groundbreaking otherwise America will be stuck with an empty memorial with a 9/11 museum crammed into its basement. The public must call on Governor Pataki to fix the LMDC’s broken process. We have attended countless meetings over the years and 99.9% of the time we are denied the decency of a considered response to our concerns. The Governor can start cleaning up the mess LMDC has made by ensuring Snohetta will be modified to house an entirely above ground 9/11 museum.
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