In a recent interview with the New York Times, Ken Salazar, interior secretary for the iconic monument, announced the reason for the closure is so that the statue can undergo a $27.25 million overhaul to make its interior safer and more accessible.
“With today’s announcement, we are taking a major step in bringing a 19th Century icon into the 21st Century,” Salazar said in the statement.
Plans to improve the safety of the statue began after September 11 attacks prompted the city to seek tighter security measures.
“It’s safe now, but it will be so much safer when we’re done,” explained David Luchsinger, superintendent of the monument and of Ellis Island for the National Park Service.
While some fans of the monument have expressed their disappointment with the closure, statistics pulled by the New York Times show that the majority of tourists wont be missing it that much — only 15 percent of individuals that take the ferry to Liberty Island to visit the statue bother make the trek up the stairs inside.
“It’s a restriction, not a closing,” Mike Burke, vice president and chief operating officer of Statue Cruises, explained. “The operative word to not use – please, please, please – is close. They’re going to restrict access to the statue’s pedestal and the interior. That’s the only change. Everything on Liberty Island outside of the statue is unaffected. There will be no scaffolding and very little interruption of activity.”
In addition to visiting Liberty Island, which will remain open, people wanting to check out the statue can take the Lady Liberty “eTour ” by going to NPS.gov.