Freedom Tower to Get July 4 Groundbreaking

Developers of the Freedom Tower (search) will break ground on the 1,776-foot skyscraper at the World Trade Center site on July 4, The Associated Press learned Wednesday.

"On July 4, as we commemorate the founding of our nation, we lay the foundation for our resurgence," Gov. George E. Pataki said in prepared remarks obtained by The Associated Press. "On July 4, as fireworks burst in the sky, ephemeral reminders of our liberty, we will begin to reclaim our skyline with a permanent symbol of our freedom."

Pataki planned to deliver the speech at noon at a gathering of the Association for a Better New York (search) and to visit ground zero later in the day.

The governor had said that he wanted the groundbreaking to be this summer. Organizers say the Freedom Tower will be the world's tallest building.

Pataki was scheduled to announce several other dates in the redevelopment timetable at the trade center site, including that a complete design of the Sept. 11 victims memorial, "Reflecting Absence," would be finished by the end of the year and construction starting in 2006.

Private donors will need to raise money to build the memorial, which is budgeted for at least $350 million.