- The Washington Times - Friday, January 31, 2003

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) — Historic Governors Island in New York Harbor was returned to the people of New York Friday after more than 200 years of federal control, the White House announced.

The handover to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Gov. George Pataki was conducted at the White House by President George W. Bush, who had announced last year the island would be returned for the nominal sum of $1.

"I am pleased to announce the return of Governors Island to the people of New York," Bush said in a written statement. "Last April, I informed the governor and the mayor of my intention to make this transfer, and today, the transfer is complete.

"Also, I am reaffirming our support for the Governors Island National Monument, which now will encompass approximately 22 of the Island's 172 acres, including historic Castle Williams and Fort Jay."

The island's recorded history dates back to 1624. In 1800 it was given to the federal government by the state and forts were built.

The White House said the island, located between the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan Island, would be used mainly for educational purposes, and for recreational and cultural pursuits.

"New York's stewardship of the island combined with the National Park Service's management of the Monument will lead to the development of an outstanding resource for the people of New York and all who visit," Bush said.

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