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Statue of Liberty reopens for 4th of July

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   July 4, 2013 at 7:56 AM   |   Comments

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July 4 (UPI) -- After being battered by Hurricane Sandy last year, the Statue of Liberty is finally open to visitors again for the 4th of July.

Fanfare for Lady Liberty's return to the public will include visits from dignitaries, music and a fireworks display.

The statue itself wasn't damaged in the storm, but the surrounding buildings and landscaping needed months of repairs costing $59 million according to estimates from federal officials. Some objects and monuments swept away by the storm surge ended up on the Jersey City waterfront.

At the last minute, the National Park Service was complete repairs on the docks at Liberty State Park in time for tourists to be able to leave from the New Jersey side.

Although Liberty Island is now open to tourists, Ellis Island will remain closed indefinitely. Roughly 40 percent of all Americans have an ancestor who came through Ellis Island, and those immigration documents and artifacts were were undamaged, and now sit in a climate-controlled storage facility in Maryland.

The American Family Immigration History Center, located on Ellis Island, operates the popular computerized data base of immigrants who arrived at Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924.

Sandy left about 8 feet of water in the basement, which held the museum’s computer servers in addition to heating and cooling equipment.

"Our website never went down," said Peg Zitko, senior vice president of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. "That was a real blessing."

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