Hailing chief WTC boosters
BY MICHAEL SAUL
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU
Fund-raising for the World Trade Center memorial could get a big boost today, when Gov. Pataki announces that the nation's four living former Presidents are putting their weight behind the project, the Daily News has learned.
Pataki will reveal at a lunch today that former Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George Bush and Bill Clinton have pledged their support for the memorial and agreed to serve as honorary members of the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation's board.
"The fact that these four esteemed former leaders of our country have agreed to lend their efforts to the foundation will help propel the creation of a fitting and lasting tribute to those we lost at the World Trade Center," a source familiar with the foundation told The News.
The memorial design was unveiled more than 10 months ago, but officials have had trouble finding a high-powered leader for the gargantuan fund-raising effort.
The foundation needs to raise between $400 million and $600million for the construction of the memorial and two cultural buildings at Ground Zero.
Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg are scheduled to announce who will spearhead the foundation within the next two weeks.
In January, when the memorial design was unveiled, John Whitehead, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., and others said they expected a formal launch of the board later that month.
In May, Pataki planned to announce that Citigroup Chairman Sandy Weill and mega-developer Jerry Speyer had agreed to serve as co-chairmen. But both men, citing time constraints, ended up turning it down.
More than 20 people - a mix of victims' family members, business leaders and civic leaders - now have agreed to serve on the board.
During today's speech, Pataki is also expected to provide an update on the progress of rebuilding lower Manhattan. He will largely focus on an "aggressive timetable" for building the memorial and the cultural plans for Ground Zero, a source familiar with the speech said.
Originally published on November 22, 2004