Pataki Nixes WTC Freedom Center
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In a story first reported by NY1, Governor George Pataki has cancelled plans to build the controversial International Freedom Center at the World Trade Center site - and representatives of the center say the location change has forced the entire project to be scrapped.
The center had drawn criticism from some 9/11 victims' family members because it would not focus exclusively on the terror attacks. Family members also said the IFC could potentially contain exhibits that were anti-American.
Pataki said Wednesday that he's given the center a chance to clarify its intentions, but there's just too much opposition.
In a statement, Pataki said: “The creation of an institution that would show the world our unity and our resolve to preserve freedom in the wake of the horrific attacks is a noble pursuit. But freedom should unify us. This center has not.”
The governor asked the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation to work with the IFC to explore other locations for the center, but representatives of the center have decided to scrap the idea completely.
In a statement, the IFC said: “We are deeply disappointed that the will could not be found to continue the development of the International Freedom Center at this hallowed site. We do not believe there is a viable alternative place for the IFC at the World Trade Center site. We consider our work, therefore, to have been brought to an end.”
Both the current mayor and his predecessor are weighing in on the decision as well. Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a statement which reads: "Although I understand Governor Pataki's decision, I am disappointed that we were not able to find a way to reconcile the freedoms we hold so dear with the sanctity of the site."
Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, on the other hand, was much more blunt, saying "The governor has made the right decision."
Just last night, members of a 9/11 family council told Lower Manhattan officials to step up the search for a new location for the IFC, with some saying it should go to the site of the Deutsche Bank building.
IFC officials submitted an expanded report last week clarifying the details of their plan at the request of officials in charge of the rebuilding efforts following the 9/11 terror attacks. Officials hoped the additions would help convince critics that its plans will be respectful of 9/11 victims, while placing the terror attacks in the context of other world events.
The 27-page report details the center's design, which includes an exhibit to show visitors how cities around the world paid respects after the 9/11 attacks.
Other galleries would focus on the origins of freedom, and leaders like Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.