By: CBS New York
The 9/11 Memorial plaza – New York, NY – Sep 12, 2011 (credit: Mike Xirinachs / WCBS 880)
One thing the families of 9/11 victims may notice as they gather at the memorial this year is fewer construction fences, marking another year of progress.
Since May, visitors have been able to simply walk on and off the memorial plaza, avoiding the long lines and time specific reservations, WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported.
Terry Strada, who lost her husband Tom, said it’s nice to see it’s not as much of a construction zone.
“I think being open to the public like this is what it should be. People should come here. They should pay their respects. People should come here and learn,” she said.
For the first time, the plaza will be open to the public on 9/11, beginning at 6 p.m.
Port Authority and the World Trade Center site developer, Larry Silverstein, are touting the progress that’s been made as well.
“A spectacular streetscape, magnificent buildings, grand open spaces,” Silverstein said. “Of course, we all wish we could have gotten it done faster. That does not diminish the pride.”
Silverstein said his company is obtaining financing to complete the 3 World Trade Center by early 2018. Its construction was halted last year.
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Tower 4 is 60 percent occupied and construction of Tower 3 is back on track. Greenwich Street has been returned to the grid and the PATH station is taking shape.
However the transportation hub won’t open until late 2015 and is a billion dollars over budget, Diamond reported.
“Could have probably found a way to have done that and achieve the same type of impact without having to spend as much capital on that specific part of the project,” Port Authority Chairman Scott Rechler said.
Rechler said Tuesday that One World Trade Center and a transportation hub will open in phases.
“There’s no denying it. We have established a living and enduring monument to the New York spirit,” Assemblyman Sheldon Silver said.
But even with all the physical progress evident, Strada says the emotional scars still hurt.
“Nightmares still come. Sleepless nights still come. You know fear still is there, especially for the kids,” she said. “People die all the time, I understand that. But terrorism really does strike you to your core, so it stays with you.”
State and city officials said a completed World Trade Center site will create a vibrant business district.