For 13 years, the World Trade Center site has been ringed by a tall fence. In what the Wall Street Journal is calling a "major milestone," some of the fencing will finally come down this year. Joe Daniels, president of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, says it will "100%" happen, perhaps as early as May. But the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which owns the site, had no comment on the timing, with its chief security officer saying "ongoing construction needs and other concerns" must be considered. Still, it would be the first step in integrating the site with the rest of Manhattan.
Daniels says the first part to come down will grant more access to the memorial; currently, visitors must make use of a narrow path that passes through a fence to get there. A Port Authority rep was said to have mentioned removing the fencing from the parts of West, Liberty, and Greenwich streets that skirt the memorial at a community meeting earlier this month. The Wire reports that if that does happen, eight of the site's 16 acres will be open. But it's not the only barrier locals are concerned about: Earlier this month residents sued the city over a planned "fortress-like" barrier system comprised of gates, guard booths, checkpoints, and barriers (these only three feet tall), reports the AP. (It was last week announced that adults will have to pay a steep $24 to visit the museum when it opens.)