The time has come for the future of Ground Zero to be decided at a national summit. The current stand-off has demonstrated that, try as they may, state and local officials are ill-equipped to give us the World Trade Center our city and country deserve. It makes no sense to limit the revival of such a signature site to what New York and New Jersey can afford. There is no reason why those two states should bear the entire country's burden -- or be allowed to undermine our collective recovery.
The target on September 11, 2001, wasn't New York or Washington. Osama bin Laden gloated in October, 2001: "The values of this Western civilization under the leadership of America have been destroyed. Those awesome symbolic towers that speak of liberty, human rights, and humanity have been destroyed. They have gone up in smoke." It was the very idea of America that was attacked, which makes our paralysis at Ground Zero a national disgrace and our true resurgence an imperative.
Most Americans have always wanted to see the Twin Towers back where they belong. The Towers were uniquely exuberant -- just like the country that produced them. They were a reflection of who we are. That is why they became such celebrated icons -- they actually stood for something. Their rebirth now would rebuild our confidence as nothing else could.
There is a remarkable plan ready to raise spectacular new Twin Towers beside a fitting and uplifting memorial that is much preferred by many 9/11 families. The efficiency of building one uniform building twice could save billions of dollars and restore the world-famous skyline by the 10th anniversary of the attacks. It is not our representatives' prerogative to ignore "Twin Towers II," a plan that has never failed to impress anyone who has looked into it and that can withstand the harshest scrutiny. What are they afraid of? What can they offer instead?
Keeping the public in the dark about such an outstanding alternative is not only perverse, it is an abuse of power. For officials to continue to boycott an exceptionally viable plan, particularly now that the latest negotiations have broken down, exceeds their authority. As Deputy Mayor Lieber recently noted, "rebuilding the site is a civic obligation of the highest order, and the people of our City rightly expect all those responsible for the site to work cooperatively to honor that obligation." Exactly. It is their civic duty to examine the one option that resolves every shortcoming of the official plan instead of looking for ways to compromise and downgrade the future World Trade Center.
Mayor Bloomberg's recent suggestion that funding for the Moynihan Station could be diverted to the World Trade Center shows how desperate officials are getting. But efforts to strong-arm the Port Authority into funding the Silverstein towers would subvert its proper role and invite a vigorous legal challenge. Even the Authority's pledge to fund Silverstein's Tower 4 could be contested.
A far more inspiring World Trade Center is now possible. Once the rewards of building extraordinary 21st-century mixed-used Twin Towers are recognized, the private funding will quickly follow to buy out Silverstein Properties' limited interest, relieve the Port Authority of its above-ground entanglement, and convert all the disappointment into triumph overnight.
The current plan was a bust when the markets were booming -- because it's just not good enough. Now more than ever, the last place we should be lowering our sights is Ground Zero.
Source: Twin Towers Alliance
Posted 22nd June 2009