ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York state and federal officials have reached an agreement to reopen the Statue of Liberty amid the government shutdown.
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday the state will pay $61,600 a day to fund National Park Service personnel to reopen the popular visitors’ destination in New York Harbor.
New York has 33 sites under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, including the statue and nearby Ellis Island. They’ve been shut since Oct. 1 because of the partial federal shutdown.
The park will reopen over the weekend.
In an interview with 1010 WINS, Cuomo cited the impact that the park’s closure has had on local businesses as a chief reason behind working out the deal.
“The Statue of Liberty is one of this country’s most recognizable landmarks, attracting millions of visitors to the state every year, and its closure these last 12 days has had a terrible impact on the local economy and tourism industry,” Gov. Cuomo said. “Every day that Liberty Island is closed means we are losing visitors who would otherwise be spending at our local businesses — not to mention the employees who maintain the park and have been forced out of work. As the shutdown continues, we cannot afford to lose the thousands of visits to the park each day.”
As part of the governor’s agreement with Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell the state will use its tourism budget to fund the first four days of the park’s reopening. To keep the park open the state will have to give the department notice every two days and continue paying $61,600 for each day that the park is open, the state announced on Friday.
Local officials praised the move.
“Tourism is a vital part of Lower Manhattan’s economy which is still recovering from the September 11th attack and it cannot withstand the economic impact of further closures. I thank Gov. Cuomo for working with us to keep these sites open which will restore this investment in our local economy,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said.
Governors in at least four other states have asked for authority to reopen parks within their borders.
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