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National Park Service Signs Pacts with Landowners for Flight 93 Memorial

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

WASHINGTON, D.C. (National Park Service) – Secretary of the Interior Ken
Salazar announced Monday (Aug. 31) that the federal government has
reached agreement with all of the landowners for all properties needed
for the construction of the Flight 93 Memorial in western Pennsylvania.

“The fields of western Pennsylvania, where the heroes of Flight 93
perished, are hallowed ground for a grateful nation,” said Secretary of
the Interior Ken Salazar. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the
landowners, the Families of Flight 93 and the employees of the National
Park Service, we have reached this important milestone in properly
honoring the courage and sacrifice of the men and women who gave their
lives that day. The Flight 93 Memorial will soon stand in their honor.”

In June, at the invitation of Sen. Arlen Specter, Salazar traveled
to Somerset County, where they met with the landowners as well as the
Families of Flight 93. Following the meetings, Secretary Salazar
delayed earlier Park Service plans to condemn the properties in favor of
continued negotiations with the landowners. A few weeks later, Salazar
traveled back to Somerset County to meet with the landowners again to
help further the negotiations.

As a result of these negotiations, the National Park Service (NPS)
has signed agreements with the 8 landowners whose land was needed to
complete the first phase of the memorial. According to Acting NPS
Director Dan Wenk, the NPS was successful in reaching negotiated
settlements with 7 of 8 property owners. In January, the eighth
property owner Svonavec Inc., came to a mutual agreement with the NPS to
allow the courts to establish fair compensation for the property. The
NPS expects that the U.S. Department of Justice will file the court
documents for the Svonavec property within the next two weeks.

“We expect closings on the remaining properties to be complete by
mid-October, which allows construction to begin immediately after our
groundbreaking in November,” Wenk said. “This keeps us on-track to
complete the Memorial by Sept. 11, 2011.”

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior

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