Red Tape Prevents Church from Post-9/11 Rebuilding
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – A church that was completely destroyed during the collapse of the World Trade Towers on 9/11 is facing some bureaucratic hang-ups in trying to get approval for its rebuilding.
The community vowed to rebuild the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church following its destruction. Nine years later, however, it has suffered from government hand offs and passed through the administrations of governors Pataki, Spitzer and Paterson.
Parish President John Couloucoundis says the church needs approval from the Port Authority because it plans to rebuild on top of an underground garage that has yet to be completed. Couloucoundis says the Port Authority hasn’t given the project the attention it deserves and believes they have put the church on the back burner.
“The reality is they’re just not dealing with us at this moment,” Couloucoundis told WCBS 880 reporter John Metaxas.
Couloucoundis is frustrated that his church — destroyed by terrorists on September 11th — is not a governmental priority.
Members of St. Nicholas say they just want to have their church back and share it with the wider community that may feel a spiritual tie to Ground Zero.
“The whole point in rebuilding the church is…to allow it to be a spiritual center,” Couloucoundis said, “and to allow anyone of any denomination to come and meditate about what happened.””
However, thus far, that message seems to have gotten lost in a sea of red tape.