- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 12, 2005

NEW YORK (AP) — The soaring Freedom Tower that is planned for where the World Trade Center once stood is being redesigned for safety reasons but still will rise a symbolic 1,776 feet into the air, New York Gov. George E. Pataki said yesterday .

Mr. Pataki, addressing the Association for a Better New York, also said he is appointing his chief of staff to oversee the rebuilding of Trade Center site and is earmarking $300 million for the September 11 memorial at the site.

“Failure to rebuild is not an option — not now and not ever. We will not tolerate unnecessary delays,” said the third-term Republican governor, who has made the rebuilding a key goal.

The effort to rebuild at the World Trade Center, leveled more than 31/2 years ago, has been stalled by police department security concerns and other problems.

Mr. Pataki said the New York Police Department has signed off on a redesign that will be made public by the end of June.

“Today, I am pleased to announce that the NYPD has reviewed the preliminary design” and has “determined that the building can be constructed in a manner that will provide the appropriate level of security,” Mr. Pataki said.

But he did not elaborate on how the design will differ from previous plans.

Planners say the Freedom Tower will be the tallest building in the world. The height of 1,776 feet is meant to evoke the year of America’s independence.

Other key elements of the site plan, including the memorial and transportation projects, will continue on schedule, the governor said. The $300 million, from the federal government, will be used for building and maintaining the memorial.

The governor’s chief of staff, John Cahill, will coordinate the efforts of agencies including the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Department of Transportation. He also will serve as point man on the negotiations with Silverstein Properties, leaseholder of the Trade Center site, and city and police officials.

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