The announcement of the World Trade Center project being behind schedule made the community aware that something has to be done to remedy the situation; we might have just gotten our first break. The executive director of the Port Authority, Christopher Ward, told the local Community Board 1 last night that an agreement with the leaders of St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church for an exchange of land needed to provide the congregation with a new home near ground zero had been reached. The church was destroyed after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center’s South Tower collapsed and obliterated the building.
The unrealistic expectations of many have made for disagreements. The public wants to see the World Trade Center in its glory as soon as possible, however people must be patient. We are verging on the 7th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, and we are ready to get closer. Mr. Ward later clarified his comments to reporters, saying, “We are finalizing an agreement and I would expect it to be done soon. “The inability to strike a deal with the church has impeded the Port Authority from building the 16-acre site’s southern foundation wall and finalizing designs for an underground security screening center. Negotiations stalled over the funding for and exact location of the new church.
Mr. Ward was joined at the hearing by the deputy mayor for economic development, Robert Lieber, the president of World Trade Center Properties, Janno Lieber, the chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., Avi Schick, the president of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation, Joseph Daniels, and the president of the Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center, Robert Harvey, who were answering questions from residents and members of the community board about delays at the site.
Also on hand for the meeting was the Assembly speaker, Sheldon Silver. The president of Community Board 1, Julie Menin, presented the officials with 10 demands, including that the community board and local residents be provided with a list of realistic deadlines for reconstruction, to be answered by September 30. Following the meeting Ms. Menin said she was pleased with the candor of the responses. “I was happy to see for the first time I have ever seen since I have been involved in the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan that people actually said no. There were some emphatic nods, and that is the right answer because one of the things that has stymied the rebuilding process has been too many platitudes, and too many unrealistic deadlines.”
New Yorkers reactions to the delay are varied, however many are anxious for it to be finished. The agreement with the church is one step closer to finishing the WTC project. People are being very understanding of the situation and know that the city is trying to do a good job and provide the public with a place to come to pay their respects. There is also the unfortunate situation of the reoccurring illnesses among World Trade Center workers. Napoli Bern Ripka Napoli is doing everything they can to get the compensation for the rescue workers, and encourages people to participate in the Journey.