Thursday, September 11, 2008

Bi-Partisan Leadership Needed In Completion Of 9/11 Memorial...

September 11, 2008
NY Times Editorial
Seven Years Later, Ground Zero

After the attacks on New York City, most people agreed there should be an enduring memorial at ground zero. Some voices, like ours, argued for builders to move swiftly, while others said it made sense to move slowly to let grief subside.

Those hoping for more time seem to have gotten their way. It is now seven years after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and the land where the World Trade Center stood still has the painful feel of a construction site.

It is not fair to say nothing has been done. The subterranean work has started, obviously the first step in moving upward to a cluster of skyscrapers around a park and memorial. Yet the political terrain has always been the rockiest at ground zero.

Former Gov. George Pataki never got control over the warring factions — the families of the dead, the New York Police Department, business interests, neighbors and the larger community of artists and citizens concerned with rebuilding Lower Manhattan.

Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer barely left an imprint in his brief time in office, and Gov. David Paterson seems primarily concerned with schedules and the costs of this extremely complex urban project. Mayor Michael Bloomberg sees the glacial pace at ground zero as a call for city government to take the helm.

Rather than worrying over the bureaucratic layers here, Mr. Bloomberg, Mr. Paterson and New Jersey’s governor, Jon Corzine, should sit down right now to clear the roadblocks. One hindrance to progress is the skeletal Deutsche Bank building that needs to come down now, not a year from now. The two governors and the mayor should also be able to resolve conflicts about the construction and cost of the Santiago Calatrava transportation hub that have complicated the building of the memorial complex. The trio should be able to preserve the essential elements of Mr. Calatrava’s magnificent design without further delaying the memorial.

Finally, the three leaders could do more to push the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the main builder at this stage. It is time to give the authority hard deadlines, especially for the memorial, as Mayor Bloomberg did this week. On Sept. 11, 2011, the memorial should be ready for the public to remember the 10th anniversary of the attacks at New York’s ground zero.

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