Looks like Lady Liberty’s getting a makeover.
The National Park Service is closing the Statue of Liberty National Monument for renovation that will cost about $27.25 million, according to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. The Joseph A. Natoli Construction Corp. in N.J. will be updating the statue’s technological and electrical systems and making the structure more fire-resistant, especially for the elevator and stairwells.
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“It’s safe now, but it will be so much safer when we’re done,” David Luchsinger, the National Park Service’s superintendent of the monument and Ellis Island, told the New York Times.
The last day to visit the monument will be October 28, exactly 125 years after the French gift was finished and dedicated by President Grover Cleveland. Liberty Island, formally Bedloe’s Island, will remain open with view of the Statue of Liberty largely unobstructed, according to the officials’ statement. Officials hope to reopen the statue in October 2012.
Luchsinger doesn’t expect tourism will drop off significantly, since most people who visit the island opt not to take the elevator or climb the steps to the head of statue.
The colossus originally closed after attacks on September 11, 2001 due to security concerns. $6.7 million of security upgrades later, the statue reopened in July 2009 to allow visitors to ascend to the crown of the American icon.