9/11 Families Group to Feds: "Save Memorial and Museum"

by Jake Neher
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9/11 Memorial and Museum
Neil R, flickr.

Group wants National Park Service to take over.

President Obama is set to visit lower Manhattan Thursday for an update on the progress of rebuilding the World Trade Center site. The focus is on One World Trade Center. But some families of 9/11 victims hope he'll turn his attention to the memorial and museum.

Jim Riches is not happy with what's happening at the 9/11 memorial and museum, and he wants the federal government to step in. Riches chairs the group 9/11 Parents and Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims. They say the foundation in charge of the site has ignored input from victims' families and has been financially irresponsible. Riches says the National Park Service (NPS) should take over.

"I think the National Park Service could come in, do a much better job themselves, pay people the salaries that are in line with their salaries as head of the museum and curators, and get this thing running with the respect and dignity that it deserves," Riches says.

Riches lost his son Jimmy, a firefighter, in the attack on September 11th, 2001. He's a retired FDNY deputy chief himself.

There are bills pending in both the U.S. House and Senate to give the property to the Park Service. They would transfer title of the site to NPS, who would give $20 million to the foundation that currently owns the site to continue to run it. Both NPS and Riches' group oppose the legislation, saying it would force the service to bail out the foundation with no say over design or construction.

The 9/11 Memorial and Museum declined our request for comment.

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