On the eve of the 11-year anniversary of 9/11, a funding dispute that had halted construction of the 9/11 Memorial Museum was resolved.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum reached an agreement.
Several months after the 9/11 Memorial site opened to the public one year ago, a dispute over the museum’s funding and oversight put a stop to the completion of the museum, a centerpiece of the 16-acre National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan.
The Port Authority owns the site and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is leasing it, according to a spokesperson for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
In a memorandum of understanding signed by the Port Authority and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, both parties agreed that construction of the museum can proceed as long as the Port Authority has access to all financial information and can confirm that the museum has sufficient resources to fund its future operating costs.
“By ensuring that no additional public funds are spent to complete the memorial and museum, today’s agreement puts in place a critical and long overdue safeguard to finally protect toll payers and taxpayers from bearing further costs, and, at the same time, put the project on a path for completion,” Gov. Cuomo said in a statement.
The museum should take about a year to complete from the time construction restarts, according to a spokesperson for the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.
Once completed, the 110,000 square feet of exhibition space will tell the story of Sept. 11 through multimedia displays, narratives and a collection of artifacts.
The museum will honor the lives of those killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the Feb. 26, 1993 World Trade Center bombing. There will be portraits of the nearly 3,000 men, women and children whose lives were lost, as well as profiles of individual victims.
Upon entering the glass-enclosed museum, visitors will descend a ramp into the main exhibition space. Artifacts on display will include the Vesey Street stair, also known as the “Survivors’ Stairs,” down which hundreds escaped.
There will also be remnants of structural columns that now delineate the footprints of the original Twin Towers, and portions of the original foundations of the Towers.
The museum’s collection will be constantly evolving, according to a spokesperson, who noted that the curators will be collecting in perpetuity.
“As chairman of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum board, which is made up of supporters and family members who so successfully opened the completed memorial last year, my goal during this period has been to get construction on the museum restarted. This agreement ensures that it will be restarted very soon and will not stop until the museum is completed,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement.
While the agreement ensures that construction will get underway, the parties did not set an exact date to restart construction. Follow Michelle Baran on Twitter @mbtravelweekly.