Some victim’s family members were horrified to learn the National September 11 Memorial and Museum has started charging a $2 processing fee for advanced reservations booked online or by phone.
While there is no fee for admission to the 9/11 Memorial that opened in 2011, the new processing fees are “necessary to safely manage visitor capacity on the Memorial,” while construction continues on the museum, according to the website. “The system is temporary and passes will no longer be needed to enter the 9/11 Memorial once specific construction projects are completed.”
But some victim’s family members are outraged people now are being charged to pay their respects at the memorial.
According to the New York Post:
“I don’t want the American public to have to pay a dime to pay respects to my son,” said Sally Regenhard, whose firefighter son, Christian, died in the World Trade Center attacks.
“They made . . . a vow that no one would ever be charged for going to the memorial, but money is the bottom line here,” she fumed.
“They’re making money off the people that died. It’s disgusting,” said Jim Riches, a retired FDNY deputy chief who lost his firefighter son, Jimmy, on 9/11.
“The memorial should be free for everybody to pay their respects. You wouldn’t charge money to get into a cemetery.”
Service charges for advance reservations at other institutions are not uncommon, especially at our national museums and monuments in Washington, D.C.
In fact, the Post said, the 9/11 Memorial compares its fee “to the American Museum of Natural History’s $2 charge and the Washington Monument’s $1.50 reservation fee.“
“But critics are calling it a two-bit money grab by fat cats hemorrhaging funds,” the article said.
And the numbers are staggering, according to the report:
Construction costs are now pegged at $700 million for the museum and memorial — more than it took to build the Empire State Building.
The foundation, chaired by Mayor Bloomberg, says the memorial and museum will cost $60 million a year to operate once complete. Security will cost $12 million a year, and another $5 million will go to operating the waterfall tributes.
Add that to the nonprofit’s swanky salaries: Ten of the 12 directors raked in more than $200,000 in 2011. Daniels pulled down $336,224 in salary and benefits, and Museum Director Alice Greenwald made $351,171, tax filings show.
One former employee, Joan Gerner, got a $300,000 severance after leaving the foundation — on top of her $439,463 salary.
According to the memorial’s website, family members of the “2,983 individuals listed on the Memorial” are exempt from the new fee.