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Statue of Liberty to reopen

Updated: 2013-10-12 14:46
( Xinhua)

NEW YORK - New York State has reached an agreement with the federal government to reopen the Statue of Liberty which is closed as a result of the partial federal government shutdown, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday.

Under the agreement, the New York State will fully fund National Park Service personnel at a daily cost of $61,600 to keep Liberty Island National Park open to visitors. The park will reopen this weekend.

"The Statue of Liberty is one of this country's most recognizable landmarks, attracting millions of visitors to the state every year, and its closure these last 12 days has had a terrible impact on the local economy and tourism industry," Cuomo said.

"Every day that Liberty Island is closed means we are losing visitors who would otherwise be spending at our local businesses, not to mention the employees who maintain the park and have been forced out of work," he said.

As a result of the federal government shutdown, the Interior Department closed all national parks across the country and laid off more than 20,000 National Park Service employees.

In response to the economic impacts that park closures have on local communities, the department is considering agreements with state governors who indicate an interest and ability to fully fund National Park Service personnel to reopen national parks in their states.

The payments will not be reimbursed unless Congress passes a law to provide refunds to individual states.

Under Governor Cuomo's agreement with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the state will pay for the first four days of reopening the park, with funding coming from the state's tourism budget.

The park will be fully open and functioning as usual. The Liberty Island National Park has a major impact on the New York State economy. According to a 2012 annual report by the National Park Service, 3.7 million people visited Liberty Island in 2011, generating 174 million dollars in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs.