May 22, 2006

A coalition of groups seeking rebuilt Twin Towers today called on New York's leaders to "cut the thread" by which construction plans for Ground Zero are hanging and start over with a more coherent plan and guidance from developer Donald Trump.

"The Twin Towers Alliance urges New York's leaders to cut that thread now and start over. It's not too late to do the right thing and do the thing right," said Alliance spokeswoman Margaret Donovan. Donovan was referring to a comment made last Thursday by State Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, following a hearing looking into performance and accountability at Ground Zero. Brodsky, who chaired the committee, told reporters afterward that the current WTC plans were "hanging by a thread."

The Alliance believes Governor Pataki can and should take steps to disband the dysfunctional Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) and move to rebuild the Towers, even enlisting the know-how of Donald Trump to make up for lost time. "Trump's legendary can-do, will-do spirit would be the perfect antidote to the current moribund state of affairs. We hear from the public all the time calling for him to step in," she added.

Donovan said starting over was justified not only because current plans for the Freedom Tower and 9/11 memorial are "uninspired and second-rate," but because "the people have been excluded from the LMDC proceedings from day one and comprise the only group that hasn't qualified for special-interest status. It's as if we were invited out to dinner, not allowed to eat, and then presented with the check for everyone else. The entire process has been conducted in a dismissive, upside-down fashion.

"Poll after poll has shown that most New Yorkers and most Americans think that the Towers should be rebuilt," Donovan stressed. "New Twin Towers would be powerfully appealing, while the current hybrid plan is so undistinguished that it cannot possibly draw the prestigious tenants needed to make it economically viable. And the wasteful shuffling of government offices to boost Freedom Tower occupancy is bad policy."

She underscored that lack of interest on the part of the private sector is directly related to the lackluster quality of the development and not to threats of future attacks. "New York City subway riders (and workers in other tall towers all over the country) live with a heightened sense of danger, but they do not allow the 'new normal' to warp their routine. Businesses know that."

Donovan noted that by concentrating the 10 million square feet of office space back into new Twin Towers, much of Ground Zero would be freed up for other purposes. She further advocates addressing security concerns by scrapping plans to reintroduce the pre-WTC street grid. She noted that running the old streets through the site was contrived and never a legitimate concern of most New Yorkers.

Applauding Mayor Bloomberg's recent suggestion to move the memorial into the lobby of the Freedom Tower, Donovan pointed out: "If 9/11 artifacts and tributes occupied the vast sunlit lobbies of restored Twin Towers instead of the dark, depressing tomb of the Freedom Tower's concrete bunker, it would far better honor the lives and sacrifices of those who died that day. We therefore urge Governor Pataki and other New York leaders to immediately set in motion plans to rebuild the Twin Towers.

We all remember how desperate the times were that set us on the current course and fault no one. But now, almost five years later, it is not too late to keep a terrible tragedy from being compounded by a terrible mistake."

# # #

Back to Petition