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  July 4, 2004

Let Freedom Rise
By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

On July 4th, just blocks from Bowling Green where New Yorkers first read the Declaration of Independence in 1776, I joined governors George Pataki and James McGreevey in laying the cornerstone for the new Freedom Tower that will be built on the site of the World Trade Center.

Once again, the world's largest building will stand in Lower Manhattan. It will be called the Freedom Tower not simply because it will rise 1776 feet into the sky…but because its soaring design is an affirmation of our free enterprise and creativity that will send a message to people around the world: The cause of liberty can never be defeated.

The Fourth of July is a good time to take stock of the remarkable progress we've made in bringing the Trade Center site, and all of Lower Manhattan, back from the devastation of 9/11. In the days just after that attack, many people predicted that it would be decades before Downtown recovered-if ever. But thanks to the teamwork-and hard work-of people in the private sector and at every level of government, Lower Manhattan is being reborn.

We've still got a long way to go, but just consider what has happened in recent weeks. Four outstanding cultural organizations have been chosen to make their homes at the World Trade Center site; they'll bring more art, dance, theater, and history to downtown than ever before. Efforts to make the Wall Street area more attractive, accessible and secure are underway. More than a dozen new parks and open spaces are in progress or nearing completion throughout Lower Manhattan. And in June, we broke ground on a new children's carousel and gardens at the neighborhood's oldest and largest open space, Battery Park.

Federal funds will also be used to make other improvements in Battery Park-including a bikeway linking the East and Hudson Rivers-as part of a recently announced $400 million plan to renovate the South Ferry subway station. That project, which will start later this year, will redesign the station so that its platforms will finally be able to accommodate two 10-car trains. Entrances to and from the platforms will also be improved. That's great news for the six million passengers who use the station every year-especially the daily commuters from Staten Island. Governor Pataki and our Administration are also urging Washington to use billions of dollars in unspent September 11th aid to build a rail link from the World Trade Center site to Kennedy Airport-a key element of our vision for revitalizing Lower Manhattan.

Every day, we’re moving ahead downtown. On our nation’s 228th birthday, we took a big step forward – and that’s something to celebrate.