Statue of Liberty reopens

Statue of Liberty reopens

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The Statue of Liberty is again seeing visitors after being reopened to the public over the weekend. The state agreed last week to take over the daily costs of keeping it open during the federal shutdown, with the cost running more than $61,000 a day.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state will pay $61,600 a day to fund National Park Service personnel to reopen the popular visitors' destination in New York Harbor.

New York has 33 sites under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, including the statue and nearby Ellis Island. They've been shut since Oct. 1 because of the partial federal shutdown.

Governors in at least four other states had asked for authority to reopen parks within their borders.

The park service said Thursday it would allow parks to reopen as long as states picked up the cost.

The statue is normally open seven days a week. Ferry service Statue Cruises, which in conjunction with the National Park Service runs boats from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, gets about 7,000 to 10,000 passengers on an average day.

Gov. Cuomo's statement:

"The Statue of Liberty is one of this country's most recognizable landmarks, attracting millions of visitors to the state every year, and its closure these last 12 days has had a terrible impact on the local economy and tourism industry. Every day that Liberty Island is closed means we are losing visitors who would otherwise be spending at our local businesses – not to mention the employees who maintain the park and have been forced out of work. As the shutdown continues, we cannot afford to lose the thousands of visits to the park each day. So while the dysfunction and gridlock in Washington D.C. has failed to keep this important state asset open, New York is stepping up to take over this responsibility. With the Columbus Day holiday weekend upon us, I am pleased to reopen Lady Liberty to visitors and look forward to seeing local businesses bustling once again. We will not allow this international symbol of freedom to remain closed because of the dysfunction and gridlock of Washington. I commend Secretary Jewell for reaching this agreement, and urge Congress to open the government."

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