Deal struck to rebuild NY church destroyed on 9/11
NEW YORK – It took a decade, but a deal has finally been struck to rebuild a church destroyed on 9/11, the church and a public agency announced Friday.
The Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said they have resolved their long dispute over how to rebuild St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, a small, 85-year-old chapel that stood across the street from the World Trade Center and was destroyed when the towers fell.
The church and the public agency had been at odds over the details of a land swap that will move the church slightly down the street to make way for some of the giant construction projects now under way at ground zero.
The settlement, mediated by the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will end a lawsuit filed by the archdiocese earlier this year. Under the deal, the Port Authority will pay for site-work and below-ground infrastructure. The cost of that work is estimated to be about $25 million, according to the governor's office. The archdiocese will pay for the construction of the chapel.
The new church will be about 3½ times as large as the old one, and also house a nondenominational bereavement center.
The leader of the Greek Orthodox Church in America, Archbishop Demetrios, said the church's continued presence at the trade center site will be "an affirmation of the significance of religious freedom and experience for all New Yorkers and all Americans."
"We will again light many candles in the new St. Nicholas Church and remember those who were lost to us, and those heroes who so nobly sacrificed their lives," he said.