Washington, Mar 25: The Statue of Liberty, which has been closed to visitors sine the 9/11 attacks in 2001, will be open to the public again from July 4, 2009.
The New York Daily News quoted Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as saying on Tuesday, Mar 24 that: "We will endeavour to do everything we can" to have the Statue of Liberty and its thrilling spiral staircase climb to her crown open to the public by America's 233rd birthday - the first time since the Sept. 11 attacks."
Salazar said his department, which controls the landmark, is considering implementing a ticketing or lottery system to allow small groups of people to enter the crown at specific times, similar to crowd control and safety procedures at the Washington Monument on the National Mall.
Salazar's announcement followed a drumbeat of 23 Daily News editorials over six years urging the crown be re-opened to the public.
But before the plan can go forward, Lady Liberty has to clear one final safety check - a hurdle Salazar anticipates the monument will clear.
He is awaiting an April 15 security assessment, which will lay out options on how to proceed.
Salazar said there were still safety concerns about having crowds on the spiral staircase in case of an emergency, but suggested that having only small groups in the crown at any one moment could minimize risk.