Downtown Digest, week of June 18

Bloomberg backs federal funding requests for 9/11 Museum

Days after Governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie requested federal funding for the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum, Mayor Michael Bloomberg voiced his support of their efforts, according to WNYC.

Cuomo and Christie sent their letter to the National Park Service on Sat., June 16, after disputes over financing have slowed construction on the museum and delayed its opening until at least next year.

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum Foundation, which Bloomberg chairs, currently oversees the project. The mayor told WNYC that “we’d love to get 20 million bucks a year” to maintain the site once it is complete, and that he has spoken with the two governors to express his support.

This follows a recent call by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for greater government oversight of the museum, in order to control construction costs and manage the structure’s expected $60 million annual operating budget, as reported by the New York Times.

Bloomberg also said that he would be asking for $20 million of federal funding, a figure he compared to what the National Park Service provided for the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, which was dedicated to the victims of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Responding to Bloomberg’s statements, the executive director of the Oklahoma museum pointed out to WNYC that the institution actually receives less than $1 million each year in federal funding and received a mere $5 million to build the site.


Silver shells out cash to fund phys ed at Millennium High

Assemblyman Sheldon Silver has allocated $400,000 to Millennium High School, on Broad Street, to replace exercise equipment and turn an auditorium into a space for physical education, according to a June 19 release from Silver’s office.

In addition to renovating flooring and wall panels, the funds will go toward replacing the auditorium’s outdated audio-visual equipment. Based on an estimated price list sent to Silver by Millennium High School, about a quarter of the money will provide for high-efficiency projectors, microphones and amplifiers, among other new high-tech additions.

“Millennium has long sought new space to give its students the high-quality physical education they need, and with this funding, we are finally able to do that,” said Silver.

In their letter to Silver requesting the funding, representatives of the school noted that, due to new city mandates, the number of physical education classes will be increased from two to three times a week, placing more stress on facilities and exercise machines.


C.B. 1 seeks space for a community center

Community Board 1 has sought for years to construct a community center east of Broadway, but thoughts in recent years of placing one in Pier 17 never came to fruition, according to board member Paul Hovitz.

Now, C.B. 1 is hoping to renew the search for an adequate location to build a new center. Hovitz, who led the board’s Seaport/Civic Center Committee meeting on June 19, said that, while it’s far too early for any concrete plans, he and other board members are beginning to brainstorm ideas for a possible location.

At this stage, Hovitz noted, a venue in the South Street Seaport is still a possibility.

“C.B. 1 is interested in exploring all possibilities of a community center on the east side of town, and it may well be under the auspices of the Howard Hughes Corporation and the Economic Development Corporation at the Seaport,” said Hovitz, adding, “But we’re well aware that we’re going to have to be cautious about what we agree to, and what the tradeoffs will be.”

Howard Hughes Corp. has yet to disclose a master plan for the South Street Seaport.