The site of a former bank badly damaged from falling World Trade Center debris will become a temporary welcome plaza for visitors to the Sept. 11 memorial, slated to open on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
The concrete, street-level plaza will feature benches and light landscaping on the southeast corner of the former Deutsch Bank building. The Port Authority, which owns the trade center site, is using the rest of the parcel as a staging area for its high-tech vehicular security center.
The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation authorized $800,000 for the welcome plaza on Thursday.
The plaza will help prevent overcrowding and long lines at the entrance to the memorial and keep visitors off sidewalks and streets, said Joe Daniels, the president of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum,
The Sept. 11 memorial, with its green spaces and cobblestoned plaza, is scheduled to open in the fall, on 10th anniversary of the trade center attacks. One corner of the memorial will remain under construction for some time after the opening, although it won't prevent visitors from viewing the waterfall-filled pools. But construction of skyscrapers and a transit hub will continue for years.
Visitors to the memorial will have to sign up online for available spots and print out their free tickets _ which memorial staff will check at the welcome plaza.
The former bank building was finally dismantled in February, after years of delay due to the recovery of body fragments of hundreds of Sept. 11 victims on its roof and a fire that killed two firefighters during its dismantling.
The 1,776-foot 1 World Trade Center is being built just northwest of the memorial site and won't open until 2013. The transit hub is under construction at the site until at least 2015, along with at least one other skyscraper planned for the site.