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Statue of Liberty's crown may reopen to public
Updated: 2008-07-05 09:54

The deadline for submitting proposals is Wednesday, and the plans would be finalized by January 2009, Weiner said. The House recently agreed to provide $1 million to help fund the work; it wasn't immediately clear Friday whether the Senate would do the same.

The Park Service said the staircase to the observation deck was installed for maintenance workers, not for sightseers. When it was open, rangers responded to emergencies almost daily, especially in summer heat.

Sightseers suffered heat exhaustion, shortness of breath, panic attacks, claustrophobia and fear of heights, the service said.

"The statue's designer, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, never intended visitors to ascend to the crown," spokesman Darren Boch said.

The crown is the only National Park Service site that hasn't reopened since the 2001 attacks. The Park Service oversees such sites as the Washington Monument and Mount Rushmore.

A gift from France to the United States, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886.


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