Last week, we reported on how the city’s long-awaited September 11th Memorial Museum had been delayed due to a feud between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo over funding and day-to-day control. Now it is being reported that an agreement to end the dispute and put the project back on track has been reached. This week, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the Port Authority, who owns the site, and the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, which leases it. In it, they agreed that both parties would allow the construction of the museum to proceed “as long as the Port Authority has access to all financial information and can confirm that the museum has sufficient resources to pay its future operating costs.”
As they buried the hatchet, both Cuomo and Bloomberg released statements. Cuomo said: “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, puts the project on a path for completion.”
Mayor Bloomberg added: “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.”
Now that everything is in order, the museum should take about a year to complete from the time construction restarts – though no date has been given as to when this will happen. The museum was originally meant to open in 2009, but clashes over the budget between the Port Authority and the 9/11 Foundation that runs the museum saw it delayed. As chairman of the 9/11 Foundation, Bloomberg wanted PA to pay the majority of the $150 million in infrastructure costs, but Cuomo wanted to have day-to-day control over the entire WTC site.
It is now expected that the museum will not open till after the 12th anniversary of the attack in 2013.