Column No. 1,001 B of 2 World Trade Center was a symbolic last piece of the recovery site, and representatives of local ironworkers, laborers, dock builders and engineers each took turns cutting it away.
A ceremony will commemorate the closing of the recovery effort May 30. The last column will be carried out, as will an empty, flag draped stretcher to symbolize the hundreds of victims that have not been identified.
The recovery work is ending under budget, three months ahead of schedule and without any serious injury to the thousands of workers who participated in the effort. Over 108,000 truckloads of debris were removed from the site.
Control of the site will revert to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the land.
Federal funds totaling $2 billion have been approved for redevelopment of the 16 acre site and plans are emerging to make at least half of that a memorial. Temporary memorials including “The Sphere”, a 45,000 pound steel and bronze sculpture and “Tribute in Light”, dual beams of light representing the twin towers, have honored those lost in the attacks.
Public hearings have begun on permanent redevelopment plans. Officials with the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency in charge of the redevelopment along with the Port Authority, say the general consensus is to combine a permanent memorial with a business, culture and transportation hub.
An international competition to design the permanent memorial is expected to follow.