The National Park Service is considering reopening the Statue of Liberty's crown to the public, according to documents released by Rep. Anthony Weiner, of New York. Although the base, pedestal, and lower observation deck reopened to the public in the fall of 2004, the crown has remained closed since 9/11.
The crown's current configuration makes it impossible to evacuate the area in the case of emergency. The NPS has asked companies for bids on fixing the crown so that it complies with building and fire codes.
This move has a lot to do with declining tourism. Weiner, who organized a congressional hearing on the issue last fall, pointed out that there's been a big downturn in visitor numbers: 3.6 million people visited the Statue of Liberty in 2000, but six years later, that number had gone down to 2.5 million.
Of course, while not being able to reach the top probably did cause some travelers to skip Lady Liberty, the increased security and related hassles involved in getting there probably have more to do with the downturn. And that's not likely to be going away.
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