Amidst all of the Ground Zero mosque controversy, people have forgotten how much has yet to be rebuilt at Ground Zero. Consider the case, for example, of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, crushed when the south tower fell.
It’s been almost nine years since 9-11, and the church still has not been rebuilt. Church leaders have the blueprints drawn and are ready to rebuild, but bureaucrats won’t cooperate, and the church can’t get rebuilt.
The church has for several years wanted to build the new St. Nicholas a block northeast of its original home on Cedar Street. But doing so would require trading land with the Port Authority, and an agreement has proven elusive. In the meantime, the church designed a domed marble complex that would be six times the size of its original home, and far more expensive.
Both St. Nicholas and the Port Authority are eager to resolve the issues quickly, especially since the authority plans to pick a contractor to build the southern perimeter wall for the entire site this summer, and it needs title to the church’s property to proceed. But officials involved in the talks say there remain substantial differences over the size of the church complex and the amount of money the Port Authority will contribute to building it.
“We understand the church’s mission,” said Chris Ward, executive director of the Port Authority. “It is part of the history of the site and we want to maintain that. We just need to put the project in the right context.”
So an expensive Christian church gets tied up in bureaucratic red tape, while a $100 million mosque super-center is waved right on through? Liberal politicians are lining up by the boatload to show their support for the Ground Zero mosque, but I don’t hear too many of them advocating for St. Nicholas to be rebuilt. Instead, the bureaucrats have gotten in the way of the rebuild. The mosque mysteriously doesn’t have that problem; in fact, it was fast-tracked. Mayor Bloomberg and members of his Landmarks Preservation Commission voted 9-0 to allow construction of the Ground Zero mosque, but New York bureaucracy is standing in the way of letting a Christian church get rebuilt. What does it say about this country that we can build a mosque at Ground Zero, created by bloodthirsty Muslim extremists bent on violent jihad, but can’t rebuild a Christian church?