New York City, NY – The Statue of Liberty has been closed to visitors since Hurricane Sandy devastated New York City in October, but the National Park Service announced Tuesday that the popular attraction will reopen by Independence Day.
“July Fourth is the perfect day to reopen a symbol of our nation’s freedom, and speaks volumes about New York’s resilience,” New York Senator Charles Schumer said in a press release. “Lady Liberty was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, but just like New York, she will be back – and stronger than ever.
The National Park Service has conducted extensive repairs on the Statue of Liberty site over the past several months.
“Hurricane Sandy inflicted major damage on facilities that support the Statue of Liberty – destroying the docks, crippling the energy infrastructure on Ellis Island and wiping out the security screening system – but we are fully committed to reopening this crown jewel as soon as it’s safe for visitors and not a second later,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said. “Based on the tremendous progress we have made, Lady Liberty will be open to the public in time for the July 4th celebration.”
3.7 million people visited the Statue of Liberty in 2011. The National Park Service reports that the tourism brought on by the Statue generated $174 million in economic activity and supported over 2,000 jobs.
“Across the country, our national parks are economic engines for local communities, with visitor spending providing a $30 billion benefit to the economy,” National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said. “By moving forward quickly with the repairs at the Statue of Liberty, we are giving a boost to communities here in New York who have been so badly hurt by Hurricane Sandy.”
The Statue of Liberty was given as a gift from France in 1886. The statue holds high a torch and wields a tablet upon which is written the date of the American Declaration of Independence — July 4, 1776 — a day the US has celebrated annually since the nation’s founding.