The War Over the Ground Zero Memorial

Michael Arad's winning design for the Ground Zero memorial must overcome considerable political, administrative and financial hurdles if it is ever to be constructed.
September 22, 2008, 1pm PDT | Michael Dudley
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"Winning the [Ground Zero memorial] competition was an extraordinary honour for [Michael] Arad. These days, however, it's a matter every day of defending his still unbuilt design, called Reflecting Absence, against the colossal forces waging war at Ground Zero. Arad needs to defend his design because, apart from Mayor Michael Bloomberg who declared last week that the memorial must be accomplished in time for the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, few people are up to the task.

The Lower Manhattan Development Corp., an agency that has steadily lost its vision and purpose over the last seven years, is to be dismantled, if Bloomberg has his way. And the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is seen to be an administration incapable of getting consensus on how to build greatness into the 16 acres of devastated land.

Besides all of that, it's now estimated that the memorial and interpretive museum together could cost as much as $1-billion (U.S.) to build, of which $350-million has been raised, so far, through private donations. With the bottom falling out of the American economy, estimates that about $40-million would then also have to be spent annually on the maintenance and security of the memorial and its museum are surely alarming."

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Published on Saturday, September 20, 2008 in Globe and Mail
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