U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today that the National Park Service has reached agreement with all 8 landowners to acquire all of the property needed for the Flight 93 Memorial and National Park.
United Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville in Somerset County September 1, 2001 as passengers wrestled with terrorists for control of the plane. It's believed the terrorists planned to crash the plane into the White House or U.S. Capitol.
Secretary Salazar says they reached agreement on purchase prices with 7 of the 8 landowners. He wouldn't say the department used eminent domain to acquire the 275 acres owned by Zvonavec Inc. including the spot of impact of the jet. Salazar said the department and Zvonavec agreed to allow the courts to determine the fair market value. If the department used eminent domain, the landowner would have been forced to accept the court's determination. The total land acquisition costs are expected to be $9.5 million.
Salazar says these agreements are a critical step forward..."The fields of Western Pennsylvania are hallowed ground for a nation that is eternally grateful for the passengers of Flight 93. They are heroes and today is a milestone in commemorating their contribution to our country. I could not be more proud that the Flight 93 Memorial will soon stand in their honor."
Ground is to be broken this fall and construction begin in November on the $58 million, 2,200 acre Memorial and National Park. Salazar says it is on schedule to be completed by the 10th anniversary of 9/11.