Gov. Cuomo plans to keep Statue of Liberty open during government shutdown


A United States Park Police officer post a sign informing of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island closing at an entrance to the ferry, Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018, in NY.

The federal monument closed abruptly on Saturday when federal lawmakers failed to reach a budget agreement.

Cuomo, a Democrat, said the landmark in New York Harbor will be "back to work tomorrow".

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While the federal government has indicted that parks and monuments could stay open, there was uncertainty how that would work.

The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island within the territorial jurisdiction of NY, but is federal property administered by the National Park Service.

The National Parks Conservation Association, an advocacy group, estimated that one-third of the 417 national park sites were shuttered, "including places like the Statue of Liberty, presidential homes, and other historic and cultural sites primarily made up of buildings that can be locked". The association warned that the lack of staff could pose dangers to visitors. This park is a symbol of NY and our values. But in Philadelphia, visitors were turned away at the Liberty Bell.

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Speaking to reporters from the southern tip of Manhattan Island with the Statue of Liberty in the background, Cuomo explained that the state will provide the $65,000 it takes each day to pay the federal workers who keep the park open.

"We don't want to lose the income", he said. When it continued for several days, the state covered the costs to reopen the sites.

"The cost is justified, just from a tourism point of view", he said."But also the symbolism is important".

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Cuomo said his office plans to talk to the federal government about the Statue of Liberty "as soon as someone answers the phone".