New York: A decade after the 9/11 attacks, top New York officials have reached an agreement to complete construction of a museum at Ground Zero that had been marred by financial and administrative disputes.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor Andrew Cuomo reached an agreement to resume construction of the museum, which was scheduled to be formally inaugurated at a ceremony on the 11th anniversary of the attacks this year.
Bloomberg is head of September 11 foundation, which oversees the national memorial and museum at the former World Trade Centre site while Cuomo and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie control the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
Bloomberg and Cuomo resolved differences over who would pay for the costs of the museum and which organisation would oversee it.
"I`m very gratified that on the eve of this important anniversary we are able to announce an agreement that will ensure the completion of the 9/11 Museum," Bloomberg said in a statement.
"As chairman of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum board, which is made up of supporters and family members who so successfully opened the completed Memorial last year, my goal during this period has been to get construction on the museum restarted," Bloomberg said.
He said the agreement would ensure that the museum`s construction would be restarted soon and not stop until the museum is completed.
"The museum is important to the families of those who died on 9/11, they`ve contributed photos and memories of their lost loved ones, who deserve a thoughtful tribute," he said. "The museum is important to the historical record and will preserve materials and artefacts of great significance that tell the story of what happened on that terrible day," he added.
Construction at the museum had mostly stopped after the 10th anniversary of the attacks last year due to the disputes.
Work at the site is expected to resume later this month and the museum would open by 2013 end.
The 100,000-square-foot museum, which is being built seven storeys below ground, will contain thousands of artefacts, audiovisual displays, profiles of the victims and photographs of the 19 hijackers.
Cuomo termed the agreement a "milestone" in the rebuilding.
"By ensuring that no additional public funds are spent to complete the memorial and the museum, today`s agreement puts in place a critical and long overdue safeguard to finally protect toll payers and taxpayers from bearing further costs, and, at the same time, put the project on a path for completion," Cuomo said.
Under the agreement, the 9/11 foundation would provide an USD 12 million for construction and a million dollars every year for 30 years from any operating surplus, beginning in 2018.
The Port Authority would formally transfer ownership of the eight acres that contain the memorial and the museum to the foundation.