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WTC victims happy with promise of no construction at WTC
NEW YORK -- Relatives of World Trade Center victims welcomed Gov. George Pataki's promise that there would be no commercial development on the footprints of the 110-story twin towers.
"I'm very happy with that stand," Joseph Maurer, who lost his daughter in the attack, said Sunday.
"I don't think anything should ever be even thought about being built where Tower 1 and Tower 2 stood. ... That to me is like sacred ground."
Pataki told a gathering of about 400 victims' family members Saturday that there would be no commercial construction on the land on which the towers stood.
"We will never build where the towers stood," he said. "Where the towers stood is hallowed ground."
Former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who also spoke at the ceremony, said his vision is of "a soaring, dramatic, beautiful memorial that draws people there 100 years, 150 years, from now."
The size and location of the monument to the more than 2,800 victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack has been a contentious issue, with some family members originally wanting the entire 16-acre trade center site to become a memorial. Each tower occupied about 1 acre.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who did not attend Saturday's ceremony, has suggested a small, graceful memorial might be preferable to a large one.
Saturday's remarks from Pataki were the clearest signal yet that the site of the towers could be left without commercial development.
"We're happy to hear him address the twin towers, but that's not all of what the families want," said Bill Doyle, who lost his son in the Sept. 11 attack. "We'd like as much acreage as possible."
A committee of victims relatives that is advising the Lower Manhattan Development Corp. released a draft of its vision for the World Trade Center site last week. The panel would like to see a memorial complex that includes a visitors' center, a museum about the attack, a children's area, an eternal flame and a private area for victims' families.
Meanwhile, a post office in Deer Park, on Long Island, was renamed on Sunday in honor of Ray Downey, New York City's most decorated firefighter and a victim of the Sept. 11 attack.
Downey, 63, of Deer Park, was special operations command chief and an expert on urban search-and-rescue. He was one of three top fire department officials lost at the World Trade Center.