HUD’s Role and the Recovery of Lower Manhattan


ON SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001, IN ONE OF THE
WORST TERRORIST ATTACKS ON OUR NATION, NEARLY 3,000 PEOPLE WERE KILLED AT THE PENTAGON,
AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER TOWERS, AND NEAR SHANKSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA. THOSE WHO SURVIVED
WERE LEFT WITH THE HEAVIEST OF HUMAN BURDENS. MOURNING THE LOSS OF THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS,
LOVED ONES, FRIENDS, COWORKERS, ACQUAINTANCES, FELLOW CITIZENS. IN THE DAYS THAT FOLLOWED,
THESE SURVIVORS BEGAN TO REBUILD THEIR LIVES, BUSINESSES, AND NEIGHBORHOODS. FOR MANY, REBUILDING INCLUDED COPING WITH EXTENSIVE PROPERTY DAMAGE, LOSS OF INCOME FOR FAMILIES AND SMALL AND
LARGE BUSINESSES, AND CREATING MEANING FROM THE DESTRUCTION. HUD WAS THERE WITH THE STATE
OF NEW YORK IN THE BEGINNING, HELPING THE EMPIRE STATE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION ESDC
AND ITS SUBSIDIARY, THE LOWER MANHATTAN DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION LMDC, LAUNCH AN AMBITIOUS EFFORT
TO REMEMBER, RECOVER, AND RENEW.>>I KNEW MANY PEOPLE THAT WERE LOST IN THE TOWERS.
A FRIEND OF MINE FROM HIGH SCHOOL WHO LEFT BEHIND THREE YOUNG DAUGHTERS. AND IT HAD AN
IMPACT ON ALL OF IT BROUGHT NEW YORK CITY TOGETHER IN A WAY THAT IT FELT LIKE A SMALL
TOWN. FOR MONTHS AFTER THAT. UNLIKE ANY FEELING I’VE EVER HAD ABOUT NEW YORK CITY IN MY ENTIRE
TIME LIVING THERE. BUT IT WAS ALSO SOMETHING THAT I EXPERIENCED AS A PUBLIC SERVANT. MY
AGENCY, HOUSING PRESERVATION AND DEVELOPMENT, WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR CLEANUP OF THE SITE, OF
THE HOLE, AS WE CALLED IT, AND I SAW A DEDICATION, A DEEP, DEEP COMMITMENT TO PUBLIC SERVICE
UNLIKE ANY THAT I’D EVER EVEN. HUD HAS BEEN ABSOLUTELY CENTRAL TO THE RECOVERY OF GROUND
ZERO AND THE ENTIRE CITY. 3.5 BILLION DOLLARS OF CDBG FUNDING THAT’S GONE TO HELP NEW YORK
RECOVER, HELPED OVER 16,000 BUSINESSES, ALMOST A QUARTER MILLION WORKERS HAVE BEEN HELPED
AND THERE’S ALSO BEEN THOUSANDS OF UNITS OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING THAT HAVE BEEN PRESERVED
OR BUILT IN LOWER MANHATTAN, THANKS TO HUD.>>WORKING WITH LOCAL OFFICIALS, WE REMOVED
AS MANY REGULATORY BARRIERS AS WE COULD TO ENSURE A TIMELY AND SUCCESSFUL RECOVERY. NEW
YORK RECEIVED CDBG FUNDS TO HELP REBUILD. THE MEMBERS OF THE CPD TEAM SHOULD BE COMPLENDED
FOR THEIR EXEMPLARY ROLE AS PUBLIC SERVANTS, FOR WORKING WITH LNDC, IN MANAGING THE FUNDS
TO ENSURE THE CITY MEETS ITS RECOVER GOALS. WE ALSO HELPED LOCAL OFFICIALS MANAGE A VIBRANT
AND MEANINGFUL PROCESS TO ENGAGE THE CITY’S RESIDENTS. NEW YORK’S ENGAGEMENT OF THE CITIZENS
WAS EXTRAORDINARY. NEW YORK REACHED OUT TO RESIDENTS AND BUSINESS OWNERS IN A VARIETY
OF LANGUAGE AND FORUMS TO ENSURE THAT OUR VOICES WERE HEARD. I’D LIKE TO PERSONALLY
THANK THE CPD STAFF FOR THEIR ROLE IN HELPING NEW YORK CITY IN ITS RECOVERY AND REBUILDING
EFFORTS. WE ALL KNOW SOMEONE WHOSE LIFE WAS AFFECTED BY THE EVENTS OF THAT DAY. NOW THE
NAMES OF THOSE WHO LOST THEIR LIVES ARE THERE, ETCHED IN STONE, TO BE REMEMBERED.>>HUD
HAS BEEN CENTRAL TO THINKING ABOUT THIS PROJECT AND WORKING ABOUT THE PROJECT AND PROVIDED
THE RESOURCES TO HAVE A TRULY, TRULY APPROPRIATE MEMORIAL AND THE PLAN WHICH WOULD ALLOW LOWER
MANHATTAN TO RECOVER COMPLETELY AND RESPOND COMPLETELY TO THE TERRORIST ATTACKS. I BELIEVE
THAT THE HUD PROCESS SUPPORTED THE REVITALIZATION AND THE GROWTH OF TRUE VARIED AMERICAN CULTURE
IN LOWER MANHATTAN SO THAT WE SEE SOMETHING NOW WHICH IS MORE VITAL THAN IT WAS BEFORE,
WHICH IS MORE VIBRANT AS A RESIDENTIAL NEIGHBORHOOD AND ULTIMATELY WILL BE MORE SUCCESSFUL AS
A COMMERCIAL NEIGHBORHOOD.>>THE PROGRESS WE’VE MADE IS RELATED TO THE WORK AND THE
SUPPORT THAT HUD PROVIDED. THE PARKS THAT WE’VE CREATED, THE CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS THAT
HAVE THRIVED, THE RESIDENTS THAT CAME BACK, NONE OF THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN POSSIBLE WITHOUT
THE VERY SUBSTANTIAL SUPPORT THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT PROVIDED IN THE AFTERMATH OF 9/11.
TODAY, JUST ABOUT TEN YEARS LATER, ONE CAN SEE THAT THE PLAN WORKED AND THAT THE MEMORIAL
IS ABOUT TO OPEN, THE BUSINESSES ARE HERE AND THE RESIDENTS ARE COMING. IT’S REALLY
TERRIFIC TO SEE WHAT NEW YORK CAN DO AND NEW YORKERS CAN DO WHEN EVER COMES TOGETHER TO
WORK TOGETHER.>>PUBLIC SERVANTS COMING TOGETHER AND LEAVING BEHIND ANY DIFFERENCES OF PERSPECTIVE,
DIFFERENCES OF BACKGROUND OR EXPERIENCE, AND PULLING TOGETHER IN ONE DIRECTION TO HELP
A CITY THAT HAD BEEN BOWED BUT NOT BROKEN, A SPIRIT OF RESILIENCE THAT WAS JUST ABSOLUTELY
REMARKABLE, UNLIKE ANYTHING I’D EF SEEN, AND — EVER SEEN AND THAT PERHAPS IS MY PROUDEST
MEMORY OF THE WORK THAT HUD DID, WAS TO BE PART OF THIS REMARKABLE, REMARKABLE TEAM.
AND I’LL TELL YOU, NEW YORK CITY WOULD NOT BE BACK TODAY IF IT WEREN’T FOR HUD.

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