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One week after we pronounced our hopes that the progress the Lower Manhattan community has seen at the World Trade Center site continue into 2012, we are left scratching our heads over the pronouncements that the National Sept. 11 Museum will not open in time for the 11th anniversary of the attacks.
Apparently this revelation is only news to us and other stakeholders in the community, and not the parties that have been squabbling over the museum’s construction for more than a year.
This is unacceptable.
Moreover, it is disheartening given the fact that the entire world was basically told, when the announcement was made that the memorial would open last September, ahead of schedule, that the opening of the museum would follow one year later. Indeed people were told that progress at the site and the construction was happening at such a breakneck pace that the museum was ahead of schedule as well. While some were booking trips to come to the see the memorial last September, others no doubt were planning a trip to Lower Manhattan for September 2012, to be among the first to step foot in the museum. Some might have even chosen the latter over the former.
It’s one thing to have a construction delay, but quite another to have a construction shutdown because of a cost dispute. There is an inconsistency evident in statements issued by the Memorial’s Board, Mayor Bloomberg, and the Port Authority that simply should not be tolerated.
There was a period when even the Memorial was not scheduled to open in time for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. However, everyone with a role in making that goal a reality was able to come to the table, work out an agreement and surprise not only Lower Manhattan residents, New Yorkers, and Americans everywhere, but the entire world.
That mentality must once again surface. It must become a priority for the two governors that basically control the Port Authority and for the mayor of NYC that basically controls the National Sept. 11 Memorial and Museum to come up with a solution that once again shows just how committed New York is to rebuilding in the aftermath of a tragedy.
There is talk of litigation between the two parties. We believe such an action would be one of the biggest disappointments in the history of Lower Manhattan’s rebirth post-9/11; a lawsuit over this museum would be a scar on this city that would never truly heal.
We have been told by the Port Authority that this issue has been “present for years.” So then, we are inclined to ask, “How did it get this far?” How did a promise made be allowed to become a promise broken? How was a negotiation not brokered before it got to this point?
While both parties might have legitimate arguments, neither party can sit back and let this stalemate continue.