Cornerstone Of Freedom Tower Arrives At WTC Site
By: NY1 News
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Just in time for Independence Day, a crucial building block in Lower Manhattan's reconstruction has arrived in the city.
The cornerstone of the World Trade Center’s Freedom Tower arrived Thursday morning. Workers will put it in place Sunday as the city and the nation celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.
The cornerstone is a 20-ton slab of granite from the Adirondack Mountains.
The Freedom Tower will be a slender, curving skyscraper standing 1,776 feet. The height represents the year of America's independence.
Once completed, it will be the world's tallest skyscraper.
Pataki says the money is there to complete the project, but he is hoping for extra funds from Washington to build more at the World Trade Center site.
NY1’s Dominic Carter sat down with Governor George Pataki this afternoon to talk about the event. Pataki said while the Freedom Tower is meaningful, it’s not the only thing that matters.
The cornerstone for the Freedom Tower, the 20-ton slab of granite from the Adirondack Mountains arrived in the city Thursday.
Gov. Pataki was there to welcome it, but would not reveal to us what will be on the inscription.
"I'm very excited about the fact we will be able in less than three years from when the attacks occurred to lay the cornerstone of what will be a symbol of our strength and our unity and our freedom," said Pataki.
"But you and I have been down here so many times, and coming down here again, however many hundredth time or thousandth time, you still can't help but have mixed emotions. You still sense the loss, which is why at the same time we build this soaring tribute to our freedom and to our strength. The centerpiece has to be the memorial, and will be the memorial, the footprints will be preserved."
Sunday a number of officials will be on hand, including the governor and representatives of the families, who asked to be included.
Will the project, set to take five years to complete come in on budget? And given the recent insurance loss in court of World Trade Center lease-holder Larry Silverstein is there enough money to see the project through.
"The resources are there, certainly to build the Freedom Tower and beyond," said Pataki. "Right behind us you now you see 7 World Trade Center going up. We allocated the resources to make sure we have the transportation hub and that the memorial is the centerpiece. So we do have the resources, and we are looking for greater flexibility from the administration in Washington to allow us to more things with the funds the administration has allocated to Ground Zero."
Is enough security money coming from Pataki ally President George Bush?
"With Homeland Security to me it is very simple: we are not getting our fair share, not because of the administration, but because their discretion is limited and there is a certain allocation that Congress has required go to every single state. And obviously states like Wyoming, Idaho, Montana — great states — but they aren't symbolic of American freedom, and American strength as New York.
Meanwhile the Republican Convention is right around the corner and Pataki supports the president's decision to not visit the World Trade Center site while he is here.
"The president has been very supportive of all that we have done here, and he's been to Ground Zero time and again," said Pataki. "But the convention is a political event and what we need to respect is that this is sacred ground."
Pataki does say though that he hopes delegates will come, so they can understand the enormous loss of life.
The ceremony is Sunday, July 4th, the beginning of construction for the Freedom Tower.
— Dominic Carter