| With the help of a $100,000 personal gift from Mayor Mike Bloomberg and almost $7 million in other private donations U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton announced that the pedestal under the Statue of Liberty would reopen to tourists this summer.
The pedestal with its 16-story observation deck has been closed to tourists since Sept. 11, 2001 for security concerns. The donations will go to pay for security measures to enable the pedestal to reopen. During a ceremony March 30, Norton said the statue with its winding staircase up to Lady Libertys crown will continue to be closed because of building and fire codes.
This impressive monument has always been a beacon for our shores the Associated Press quoted Norton as saying. Unfortunately, she also has been a symbol to the darker of forces before and after Sept. 11.
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who did not attend the ceremony, thanked the mayor for his generosity and blasted Norton for taking two and a half years to reopen the pedestal and forcing the city to resort to in essence a bake sale to raise the money for the statues security upgrades when other national monuments were upgraded by Washington.