Statue of Liberty Will Close for One Year

The Statue of Liberty, one of the most-visited New York City tourist attractions, will be closed for one year starting on October 29.

Ken Salazar, interior secretary for the monument, said the statue will undergo a $27.25 million renovation, according to The New York Times. Plans to improve the security of the statue began after September 11 attacks prompted the city to seek tighter security measures.

After the federal government closed the monument for three years following the attack, $6.7 million in improvements aimed to upgrade fire and security systems were made. Although the statue’s pedestal and observation deck were re-opened in 2004, the crown and steps that lead to it did not open until July 4, 2009.

Salazar now says the project that started years ago must be completed, stating that funding and planning were only recently settled. He said the renovations will prove to be an improvement for the statue.

"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.

David Luchsinger, superintendent of Ellis Island for the National Park Service, told The New York Times that the renovations will protect tourists and anyone else visiting the statue.

“It’s safe now, but it will be so much safer when we’re done,” said Luchsinger.

Tegan Firth, a spokeswoman for Statue Cruises which brings people to Ellis Island, insisted that while the inside of the statue cannot be explored, visitors can still enjoy taking pictures of the exterior view.

"(The) entire experience of visiting these national landmarks of the United States remains absolutely the same," Firth has said according to AP.

Mike Burke, vice president and chief operating officer of Statue Cruises, agreed with his co-worker and said people should focus less on the word “closing.”

“It’s a restriction, not a closing,” he told The New York Times. “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.”

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