Today Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Statue of Liberty will be open again to visitors by July 4, 2013. The nation's symbol of freedom was hit hard during Hurricane Sandy last October and has been closed to visitors. The statue itself was not damaged but the National Park Service facilities on Liberty Island suffered extensive damage.
“Hurricane Sandy inflicted major damage on facilities that support the Statue of Liberty— destroying docks, crippling the energy infrastructure on Ellis Island and wiping out the security screening system—but we are fully committed to reopening this crown jewel as soon as it's safe for visitors and not a second later,” Secretary Salazar said.
Salazar emphasized the importance of reopening the Statue to the New York economy, which has been badly hurt by the storm. An annual report released last month by the National Park Service showed that 3.7 million people visited the park in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs.
Repairs to the docks needed to transport visitors to Liberty Island are being funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Lands Highways Program, as part of $28 million committed to roads and bridges in federal parks and recreation areas in New York and New Jersey damaged by Hurricane Sandy.