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ACTING GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES ELLIS ISLAND REHABILITATION PARTNERSHIP
Save Ellis Island, Inc Joins National Park Service in Restoring 30 Island Buildings

    

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Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco announced today a new partnership between the National Park Service (NPS) and Save Ellis Island! Inc. (SEI,Inc.) that will enable the rehabilitation of 30 buildings on Ellis Island. This partnership places SEI,Inc. as the primary fundraising entity for the rehabilitation.

       

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"Ellis Island is the story of the largest human migration in modern history. More than 100 million of all living Americans can trace their roots to an ancestor who came through Ellis Island. What we do today to preserve the buildings here will speak to generations to come. It will ensure that Ellis Island, New Jersey, the gateway to America, remains forever an island of hopes and dreams," said the Acting Governor.

"The rehabilitation of Ellis Island has a special meaning for me because my parents, Paul and Clara, came from Italy through Ellis Island as young children. So many times, my parents spoke about the tremendous hope that filled the hearts of the people who came here. Dreams of a better life for their children and the generations to come," said DiFrancesco.

The Acting Governor was later presented with a framed copy of the manifest documenting his parent's arrival to America.

The Acting Governor also toured 29 buildings on the South Side of the Island which are currently under construction.

Of the 33 buildings on Ellis Island, New Jersey has jurisdiction over 30 --29 on the South Side and one on the North side. Currently, all 30 buildings are closed to the public because they are structurally unsafe.

"Save Ellis Island! Inc. expects to raise $300 million in the next 5 to 10 years. Their national fundraising program will begin later this year, but their efforts have already netted almost $3.5 million," said DiFrancesco.

Save Ellis Island! Inc. was established by Finn Caspersen to replace the Governor's Advisory Committee on the Preservation and Use of Ellis Island. SEI, Inc. plans to raise money for the rehabilitation of the Island by seeking funds from the federal government, New Jersey, New York and private sources. The organization will not begin its national fundraising campaign until December 2001 or January 2002, when the NPS decides on a final reuse plan for the buildings.

"This is a major step forward in that the history embodied here will live on for future generations," said Acting Governor DiFrancesco.

Efforts are underway to stabilize the buildings in order to provide an additional 5 to10 years during which the $300 million rehabilitation can take place. Stabilization will cost an estimated $8.6 million --$6.6 million for the 29 South Side buildings and $2 million for the North Side building. This $6.6 million is comprised of a $2 million appropriation in the state FY2000 budget; $250,000 of in-kind services through the Department of Corrections Inmate Labor Assistance Program; $2 million in the federal FY1999 budget; $1 million in the federal FY 2000 budget and $1.3 million from NPS.

State funding will cover the stabilization cost of the one building on the North Side of the Island, The Baggage and Dormitory Building. This building is the largest and in the greatest danger of collapse. The Department of Environmental Protection donated $1 million from its FY 2001 capital budget and the NPS matched that with another $1 million.

"As New Jerseyans, we take great pride in our history and our people. We want to ensure that future generations can share our pride. One way we can do that is to stabilize and restore the buildings here," said DiFrancesco.

 

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