Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The National 9/11 Museum and Memorial Should Never Impose Entry Fees

Joe Daniels, the president of the organization putting together the national 9/11 memorial and museum project at Ground Zero told WNYC radio that he believed that an entry fee would be necessary to offset the annual operating costs that would run $50 million a year. (Via Gothamist).

That is simply unacceptable.

While Daniels hedges that families of 9/11 victims would never have to pay the fee, how exactly is he going to make sure that the fee isn't collected from those folks.

Several national parks and monuments around the nation do not currently charge entry fees. Mount Rushmore doesn't collect an entry fee, but does impose a $10 parking fee that defrays the cost of the new parking garage built a few years ago.

The monuments in Washington, DC do not impose entry fees, including the Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Korean Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, or World War II memorials (to name a few).

The Pearl Harbor Memorial does not impose entry fees.

Nor should the 9/11 memorial and museum at Ground Zero.

Congress - and in particular the New York and New Jersey delegations should make sure that the funding is set aside for the National Park Service for perpetual care and maintenance at the memorial and museum.

Meanwhile, four years ago a bill that would have prevented the imposition of fees if the museum and memorial charged entry fees died at the hands of Gov. Pataki who refused to sign it into law. No measure has been taken up since by either the state Senate or Assembly.

With the opening of the facilities to the public in less than two years (parts of the memorial will be open next year for the 10th anniversary of the attacks) securing the financing is paramount.

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