WTC Remnants to be Preserved

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has drafted a plan for conserving column bases and other remnants of the World Trade Center at a new transit hub at the site.

The plan, issued Tuesday, would preserve "to the maximum extent possible" 84 column bases from the north tower and 39 from the south tower. It also calls for construction of a glass wall to afford views of the bases, which might otherwise have been obscured by a proposed platform at the hub.

Other artifacts, including steel beams, would be removed and put in storage, and features from a former subway platform at the site - including handrails and travertine flooring - would be included in the new train station.

The document, called a memorandum of agreement, was issued after a yearlong federal preservation review, required because the transit hub has received $1.7 billion in federal funding. It has been submitted for approval to the Federal Transit Administration, the New York State Historic Preservation Office and the Lower Manhattan Development Corp.

Those agencies must sign off on the plan within 10 days in order for the Port Authority to proceed with construction plans, authority spokesman Steve Coleman said Wednesday.

Survivors of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and relatives of victims have campaigned for the preservation of trade center artifacts, which they feared could be buried or destroyed by new construction.

Anthony Gardner, a representative of the Coalition of 9/11 Families, said group was reviewing the 20-page memo.

Gardner, whose brother died in the north tower, said he was concerned about a section where agencies are "requested" to submit plans for the trade center site to the Port Authority for review.

"There's a concern about the cumulative effect of all the projects," Gardner said. "There's so much to that one word 'request' because there're no enforcement power. The Port Authority needs to require these agencies to submit plans."

The family group has "consulting party" status as a signatory to the memo, but its approval is not required in order for plans to go forward.