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Nation & World

Statue of Liberty indefinitely closed by Sandy damage on island

(MCT) WASHINGTON — Among Superstorm Sandy victims still struggling to recover: Liberty Island.

The Statue of Liberty remains indefinitely closed to the public due to damage on the island, joining another shuttered national icon, the Washington Monument, which has been closed due to damage from an Aug. 23, 2011, earthquake.

The statue, the pedestal and base came through the storm, which made landfall Oct. 29 in southern New Jersey, without significant damage.

But the docks that bring visitors to the island were seriously damaged, and more than half of the bricks in the walkway that circles the island in New York Harbor were dislodged and tossed about as water came probably within 10 to 15 feet of the statue’s base, said National Park Service spokesman Mike Litterst. Security screening and concessionaire facilities also were damaged.

Liberty Island is among the federal sites recommended for funding in a $60 billion Sandy recovery measure sent to Congress by the White House last week.

The measure provides $348 million for park service sites. The storm affected nearly 70 national park sites, including all 15 in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area, including Ellis Island and Fire Island National Seashore.

Ellis Island is closed after receiving wind and water damage, “though thankfully no museum objects were damaged,” said Park Service spokeswoman Lauren Newman.

The park service cannot say how long the Statue of Liberty will be closed. “The park service is working as diligently as it can to get it reopened as quickly as possible,” Litterst said.

The spending proposal also calls for $4 million for repairs to damaged sand berms and dunes that protect space launch sites at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia and $2 million for repairs to wind-damaged roofs at Smithsonian museums in Washington.


©2012 Los Angeles Times

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