- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2002

NEW YORK (AP) Six proposals to rebuild the World Trade Center site were revealed yesterday, all featuring substantial memorials to the dead and buildings that would evoke but not match the lost skyline of Lower Manhattan.

"Each plan begins with a memorial acknowledging that as we rebuild, we must remember," John Whitehead, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., said at a morning news conference.

The proposals call for replacing the 11 million square feet of office and retail space lost on September 11 with a cluster of buildings, none of which would rise as high as the vanished 110-story towers. Each plan calls for the construction of a public transportation hub at the site. They also feature retail and hotel space.

"The six plans are not final blueprints. Each of the plans represents a package of proposed ideas. These ideas can be mixed and matched and reconstituted based on public input," said Mr. Whitehead.

Talking specifically about a memorial for the site, Mr. Whitehead said, "There is no need to rush." He said an international design competition would be held and would draw on professionals and amateurs alike.

"This is the starting point for dialogue," Matthew Higgins, spokesman for the LMDC, a city-state agency, said earlier. "The next step is to actively engage the public through as many different forums as possible."

To emphasize the importance of honoring the 2,800 who died on September 11, each plan uses the word "memorial" in its title. Four of the plans preserve the "footprints" of the towers for a memorial; two would allow commercial buildings on the footprints, which would enable more intensive development of the site.

Among the ideas is a proposal dubbed Memorial Plaza, which would feature an 8-acre open space and a free-standing tower at the northwest corner of the site. Memorial Triangle would create several triangular parks and triangular building sites. Memorial Park would have a 6-acre park but would allow commercial development on the footprints.

Groups representing victims' families had demanded that the ground where the towers stood not be used for anything but a memorial.

"Where Tower One and Tower Two stood is sacred ground," said Joseph Maurer, a retired firefighter whose daughter, Jill Campbell, died in the trade center. "It's the same as Gettysburg or Pearl Harbor."

The tallest building in any of the six plans rises 85 stories. In an attempt to echo the lost towers, each plan contains at least one needlelike structure atop an office tower for a total height of 1,500 feet. The trade center towers were 1,350 feet tall.

All the plans restore some of the street grid that was eliminated when the World Trade Center was built, but any streets may wind up being only for pedestrians.

The proposals, released by the development corporation and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land, will be on display for several weeks in Lower Manhattan and on the development corporation's Web site (https://www.renewnyc.com), Mr. Whitehead said.

An expected 5,000 people will discuss the plans at a town hall meeting Saturday at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.

The development corporation and the Port Authority will narrow the six land-use proposals to three by September and to one by December.

"The three plans issued in the fall might be a combination of features of the six," Mr. Whitehead said.

The plans were prepared by the architectural firm of Beyer Blinder Belle. Among the firm's better-known projects was the renovation of Grand Central Terminal.

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