If you want to visit the interior of the Statue of Liberty, you'd better make your trip before October 28th -- or plan on waiting a full year. U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that Lady Liberty will close for renovations following the 125th anniversary of its designation.
Apparently, the Statue of Liberty isn't compliant with fire codes. The entire structure needs to have escape routes that would allow for an evacuation in under two hours, reports the Washington Post, and as things stand now, that's not possible. The cost of an interior upgrade? $27.25 million.
This won't be the Statue of Liberty's first closure. Following 9/11, the government closed the national monument amid safety concerns. After three years and $6.7 million in fire and security improvements, the base, pedestal and observation deck were opened again, reports the New York Times. The crown remained closed until July 4, 2009.
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While the Statue of Liberty closure sounds like a bummer, the fact is that people can still visit Liberty Island and see the monument because the view won't be obstructed.
"The entire experience of visiting these national landmarks of the United States remains absolutely the same," Tegan Firth, a spokeswoman for Statue Cruises, told the Washington Post.
David Luchsinger, the superintendent of the Statue of Liberty and of Ellis Island for the National Park Service, echoes Firth's sentiments. "They're going to get the exact same experience," he said, "Most folks just want to come over, walk around and get their picture taken."
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That's very good news for local companies that are dependent upon tourists visiting the Statue of Liberty. Statue Cruises takes an average of 18,000 people to Liberty Island on any given Saturday during the summer, so it's reassuring to know their business shouldn't be negatively impacted.
And hopefully, when the Statue of Liberty opens in 2012, she'll be in better shape!
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