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NYC Redevelopment Holds Meeting

January 7, 2002 GMT

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NEW YORK (AP) _ Mayor Michael Bloomberg presided at the reopening of a hotel near the World Trade Center disaster site Monday and said the city is bouncing back from the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

``We can’t forget all of those people that we lost,″ Bloomberg said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly refurbished New York Marriott Financial Center ``On the other hand, we have a responsibility to make sure that New York comes back.″

The hotel is just south of the 16-acre disaster site, where workers have removed more than 962,725 tons of debris.

Roger Borsink, the Marriott chain’s New York vice president, said 125 of the hotel’s 504 rooms were open and 70 rooms were booked for Monday night.

Earlier Monday, the group charged with leading the rebuilding efforts lower Manhattan held its second meeting.

John C. Whitehead, chairman of the Lower Manhattan Redevelopment Corp., said the group would hire an executive director as the next step in redeveloping the disaster site. The 11-member group also plans to rent office space and form advisory committees with downtown residents, employees and families the victims of the attacks.

The redevelopment group, a joint state and city panel, could receive $2 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant aid from a spending bill approved by Congress last month. President Bush has not signed the bill yet.

Whitehead has said that he envisions the twin towers being replaced with a cluster of smaller office buildings, perhaps 50 or 60 stories tall.

Officials hope to have an interim memorial in place by the end of the year.