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Tourists Excited As Statue Of Liberty Prepares To Reopen

Lady Liberty Has Been Closed Due To Government Shutdown
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Tourists walk by a sign announcing that the Statue of Liberty is closed due to a US government shutdown in New York, October 1, 2013.(credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

Tourists walk by a sign announcing that the Statue of Liberty is closed due to a US government shutdown in New York, October 1, 2013.(credit: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Statue of Liberty is set to reopen Sunday, despite the continuing partial government shutdown.

As WCBS 880’s Jim Smith reported Saturday, tourists from around the world were excited to hear the news that Lady Liberty will soon reopen.

“We came from Cologne, Germany and we would like to see it,” said tourist Phil Yackner.

Yackner was in Battery Park getting information and planned to return. He said he couldn’t go home without seeing the Statue of Liberty.

“Yeah, of course. We have to see the statue,” he said. “It’s one of the most amazing things in the city.”

New York State is picking up the tab of more than $60,000 a day to reopen the statue. But for some, the deal came too late.

“It was our last full day here in New York,” said Ryan, who came from Kentucky.

Ryan and Ellie will miss out, but Ellie said that is OK.

“You know, it’s good enough, I think, for us to take pictures of it,” she said.

On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday the state will pay $61,600 a day to fund National Park Service personnel to reopen the statue.

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.

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.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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