Saturday, May 27, 2006

Gretchen Dykstra Resigns As Head Of WTC Memorial Foundation

NY1 News
Gretchen Dykstra Resigns As Head Of WTC Memorial Foundation

World Trade Center Memorial Foundation President Gretchen Dykstra resigned Friday, just weeks after the organization suspended fundraising amid news the project is over budget.

Dykstra, who has headed the foundation for the past year, stepped down from her post in a letter to the organization’s executive committee in which she said the fight over the project's budget and design had grown to include too many players.

“There is a general agreement that the multiplicity of authorities makes it difficult for anyone to move expeditiously,” Dykstra wrote. “Perhaps it would help if there were one less player.”

Dykstra’s resignation will take effect immediately. WTC Memorial Foundation General Counsel Joseph Daniels will serve as acting president.

Dykstra has faced criticism ever since she revealed last month that the foundation she headed had only raised $130 million for the project so far.

The WTC Memorial Foundation suspended its fundraising efforts earlier this month after the price tag soared to nearly $1 billion. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki responded by capping the project's budget at $500 million.

The foundation says it’s going to have to make cuts to bring the costs in line with its original budget. Bloomberg and Pataki have appointed developer Frank Sciame to make changes to the memorial design, called “Reflecting Absence,” and pare down the rising project costs.

Any changes Sciame recommends will be reviewed by the mayor and governor, and go up for public comment.

The deadline for recommendations is June 15th.