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Deal Reached to Resume Construction of 9/11 Memorial Museum

By Jill Colvin | September 10, 2012 9:20pm

CITY HALL — After months of public feuding that grounded construction to a halt, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a deal to resume work on the 9/11 Memorial Museum — less than 24 hours before the 11th anniversary commemorating the Sept. 11 attacks.

The museum had originally been slated to open in time for Tuesday's 9/11 ceremony. But construction stalled late last year because of a financial dispute between the Memorial Foundation, which Bloomberg chairs, and the Port Authority, which Cuomo partially controls.

Under an agreement reached Monday, construction will recommence in October and cannot stop until the project is complete.

The deal also establishes a new joint task force to oversee work at the site, and gives Govs. Cuomo and Chris Christie far more control over ceremonies at the site, including the annual memorial ceremony.

As part of the deal, the foundation will also pay the Port Authority $17 million in fees.

Cuomo called the agreement a "milestone in our work to finally complete the site as a place where people from around the world can come to work, visit and remember."

He praised the deal for ensuring no additional public funds would be spent to complete the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

“[It] puts in place a critical and long overdue safeguard to finally protect toll payers and taxpayers from bearing further costs," Cuomo said in a statement, "and, at the same time, put the project on a path for completion."

While the agreement does not set a new anticipated completion date, Bloomberg had said earlier Monday that, even if construction were to begin immediately, it is unlikely the project could be completed by Sept. 11, 2013.

Bloomberg also praised the deal, despite repeatedly blaming the Port Authority for the impasse.

“I’m very gratified that on the eve of this important anniversary we are able to announce an agreement that will ensure the completion of the 9/11 Museum,” he said in a statement, hours after insisting to reporters there was no imminent deal.

“The agreement ensures that it will be restarted very soon and will not stop until the museum is completed,” he said.

With reporting by Julie Shapiro