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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 April, 2003, 21:50 GMT 22:50 UK
WTC site 'reclaimed by 2006'
Daniel Libeskind's proposal for the World Trade Center site
The plans form part of an aggressive rebuilding schedule
The site of the former World Trade Center in New York City will be redeveloped by 2006, New York state governor George Pataki has said.

Mr Pataki said that the city would be able to "reclaim it's skyline" when Daniel Libeskind's 1776ft [541-metre] Freedom Tower is completed, five years after the devastating attacks on 11 September 2001.

"When our work is done, the history of lower Manhattan will have been written not by the terrorists who attacked our city, but by the millions of New Yorkers who stood up to defend it, and who worked to rebuild it," Mr Pataki said.

The governor was speaking at the unveiling of an ambitious timetable for the redevelopment of lower Manhattan.

Contentious issue

Under the plans, described as an aggressive rebuilding schedule, a giant transit hub similar to the city's famous Grand Central Terminal will link commuter trains to subways.

Construction workers at the site of the former World Trade Center shortly after the 11 September attacks
The redevelopment of the site has been a contentious issue

A tree-lined promenade, new parks and 3,000 new housing units will also be developed.

"This is not a theoretical proposal destined for the archives of state government," Mr Pataki said.

"This plan will be carried out."

Business people in lower Manhattan have been angered by the slow pace of redevelopment, the continued presence of police barricades downtown, and ongoing transportation difficulties, the Associated Press news agency reported.

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said this month that 100,000 jobs have been lost in the area since the 11 September attacks.

Redevelopment has been a contentious issue, with several relatives of those who died in the attacks saying that the actual World Trade Center site should not be rebuilt as it is a grave for those who died.

Others have pointed to the many businesses that moved to the neighbouring state of New Jersey, citing security fears, and the reluctance of many employees to work in high-rise buildings.

'Emotional protection'

The design chosen for the site was created by Berlin-based architect Daniel Libeskind.

A complex of angular towers, it also features a 541-metre (1,776-foot) spire, topped with gardens, which would be included amongst the tallest structures in the world.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at the time the winning plan would restore "lower Manhattan to its rightful place in the world".

Governor George Pataki also described the Mr Libeskind's plan as a "truly emotional protection of the site of Ground Zero itself".

Mr Libeskind, who designed the Jewish Museum in Berlin, said he would like to keep much of the gaping hole left at the World Trade Center site for space for an eventual memorial.

The specific design of the memorial is expected to be chosen later this year in a separate competition.

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