Statue of Liberty, Grand Canyon reopening despite shutdown
NEW YORK (CNN) – The Statue of Liberty, the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore have found a way around the government shutdown for now and will reopen with the help of state funding.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Friday that the state struck a deal with the National Park Service to fund Lady Liberty’s operations for the time being.
“Every day that Liberty Island is closed means we are losing visitors who would otherwise be spending at our local businesses,” Cuomo, a Democrat, said in a statement. “Not to mention the employees who maintain the park and have been forced out of work.”
New York state’s tourism budget will fund the park and the state will pay $61,600 a day over the next several days.
According to the statement, a 2012 annual report from the National Park Service counted 3.7 million visitors to Liberty Island in 2011, generating nearly $200 million in economic activity and supporting more than 2,000 jobs.
“This is a practical and temporary solution that will lessen the pain for some businesses and communities in New York during this shutdown,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement. “We want to reopen all of our national parks as quickly possible for everyone to enjoy and call on Congress to pass a clean continuing resolution to open the government.”
The inability of Congress to approve spending for the fiscal year that began October 1 triggered a government shutdown that — along with most everything else — resulted in the closure of national monuments and parks.
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees who maintain and secure the facilities were furloughed. The nation’s 401 National Park Service sites collectively average about 715,000 visitors per day.