New York City mayor unveils his vision for Lower Manhattan

Friday, December 13, 2002

NEW YORK -- Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday unveiled his vision of a revitalized Lower Manhattan with vast green spaces, new neighborhoods, a large public marketplace and a transit hub with direct links to airports.

His announcement came one week before the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation was scheduled to present seven proposals for redeveloping the 16 acres where the World Trade Center stood.

"We must reinvent Lower Manhattan. We must reopen the waterfront. We must continue to reassure that New York continues to lead in the global economy," Bloomberg told a gathering of business leaders.

His idea for a mini-city at the southern end of Manhattan with a tree-lined boulevard and new schools is far from reality in the area today, which is dominated by office towers and virtually empty by 7 p.m.

Take years to build

Most of the redevelopment plan would take years and cost more than $10 billion to complete. A rail link to Kennedy Airport, for example, would take nine years to build.

The mayor acknowledged his proposal might be greeted skeptically in a city with a sputtering economy and a projected $3 billion budget gap next year.

Council member Alan Gerson, who represents much of lower Manhattan, said the mayor's proposals were good, but the plan lacked sufficient detail, particularly regarding transportation and an economic framework for the downtown area.

Bloomberg said Thursday that the financing for his redevelopment plan would include $5.9 billion in federal funds already received for rebuilding at the trade center site, as well as taxes from construction at the trade center site and insurance proceeds.

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