downtownexpress.com
Volume 19 | Issue 25 | November 3 - 9, 2006

progress report/ lmdc

Five years of accomplishments

By Kevin Rampe

Five years after the Sept. 11th attacks, Lower Manhattan continues its dramatic revival. Led by Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg, and informed by public opinion, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation has facilitated this resurgence by developing and implementing a multifaceted plan to ensure Lower Manhattan's transformation into a premier 21st century central business district. A mixed-use community, vibrant day and night, Lower Manhattan is now a place where companies want to locate, families want to live, and visitors come to enjoy.

Through an unprecedented public process that included more than 200 L.M.D.C.-sponsored public meetings, we've worked to identify the needs of the community and have successfully addressed those needs by developing meaningful projects to ensure the renaissance of Lower Manhattan and spur further investments Downtown.

From the very beginning, the L.M.D.C. has coordinated with our partners in both the public and private sectors to complete short-term projects and to lay the foundation for long-term planning projects. Numerous L.M.D.C. funded initiatives have been completed and many more are underway. I could not be more optimistic about the impact these projects will have. I am confident that with their completion, our mission to create both a fitting memorial and a vibrant downtown community will be realized.

Despite all of our successes and the substantial completion of our mission, the work of the L.M.D.C. is not yet fully complete. As we move forward with determining the transitioning of the agency and its project management responsibilities, we will keep you, the Lower Manhattan community, fully informed.

The L.M.D.C. has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in community grant programs, the creation and revitalization of Lower Manhattan's parks and open spaces, new housing, school buildings, and cultural institutions. As a result, Lower Manhattan is now the fastest growing residential market in the city and Battery Park City has the highest occupancy rate in its history.

At the World Trade Center site, construction is underway. Seven World Trade Center has been rebuilt and hundreds of companies have reaffirmed their commitment to Downtown. The value of construction now underway or soon to begin in Lower Manhattan totals $10 billion, with an additional $20 billion to be invested over the next five years.

As the commercial and residential base of Downtown continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, the outlook for Lower Manhattan gets better by the day. Projects already underway in Lower Manhattan include:


Memorial
Selected by a prestigious jury in the largest memorial design competition in history, Michael Arad and Peter Walker's “Reflecting Absence” will encompass more than six acres of the W.T.C. site. Visitors will enter memorial plaza and find an unexpected urban forest, a lush space with a canopy of hundreds of oak and sweet gum trees. Awe-inspiring twin voids will puncture the horizontal expanse of the plaza where the original towers stood, and will contain waterfalls that cascade nearly thirty feet into reflecting pools below. The names of those lost will be inscribed on the parapet surrounding the pools. Adjacent to the two voids will be the visitor center and the memorial museum. The museum will retell the events of the day, display powerful artifacts, and celebrate the lives of those who perished.


World Trade Center Site
Thanks to the design brilliance of Daniel Libeskind's W.T.C. site master plan, “Memory Foundations,” the construction of a powerful skyline for Lower Manhattan is already underway. In addition to the iconic Freedom Tower, four more towers will complement the dramatic rebuilding of the site, which reasserts life and hope.


Culture
The L.M.D.C. has invested in the creation and enhancement of a diverse, exciting network of cultural vibrancy in Lower Manhattan. In addition to $50 million dedicated to the Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center site, the L.M.D.C. has made over $37 million in grants to 64 cultural institutions in every Downtown neighborhood. The grants are expected to leverage more than $410 million in investments for cultural institutions below Houston St.


Community
In addition to the cultural grants, the L.M.D.C. recently announced up to $45 million in Community Enhancement Funds for non-profit organizations in Lower Manhattan. These funds will support initiatives that enhance community activities and programs available to residents, workers and the greater downtown community.


Parks and Waterfronts
To create a greener Downtown community, the L.M.D.C. has committed to the creation and revitalization of more than 140 acres of parks throughout Lower Manhattan - an investment of nearly $240 million. From Canal St. to Battery Park, a total of 19 parks projects will be completed by 2009, 13 of which are already finished.
The L.M.D.C. has also invested in transforming the waterfronts along the East River and the Hudson - some of New York's most treasured open spaces. Together with the Tribeca segment of the Hudson River Park, the East River Waterfront will complete 10 consecutive miles of boardwalks, green spaces and recreational piers surrounding Lower Manhattan.


Transportation
To enable Lower Manhattan to grow into an even stronger center of international commerce and major visitor destination, the L.M.D.C. worked with its partners to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive transportation system. This work will culminate in the creation of the World Trade Center transportation hub and the Fulton Street Transit Center. Residents and visitors can expect swift, convenient and comfortable transportation in an inviting atmosphere.
Please be assured that these initiatives, along with many others, will be accomplished and Lower Manhattan will continue to grow and outpace expectations for its future as the business and financial capital of the world. We have much to look forward to.

Kevin Rampe is chairperson of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.

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