On the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, a category 4 storm that devastated the island of Puerto Rico, Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced plans for the creation of a memorial to honor the victims and survivors of the disaster. New York City is home to the largest number of Puerto Ricans in the mainland United States, according to the last Census update.
Very few details are available about the memorial right now. It will be located in an undetermined spot in Battery Park City. With Thursday’s announcement, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order to establish the Hurricane Maria Memorial Commission. The existing committee established to lead New York’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico will select members to be on this commission. The members will include artists, academics, community leaders, and performers, among others.
Once this Commission is fully established, it will work to finalize the exact location of the memorial, the design, and construction timeline, and provide its recommendations to Governor Cuomo. He expects these recommendations to reach him no later than September 30, 2019. The state will then issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to pick the team to build the memorial.
“The federal government’s failed response is a stain on American history, and I am establishing a commission to create a memorial honoring the victims and survivors of Hurricane Maria and the resilience of the Puerto Rican community,” said Governor Cuomo, in a statement. New York State plans to sue the Trump administration over its response to the hurricane. “New Yorkers have always had a deep connection with our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico and this memorial will show that this country loves and respects our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and we will never allow what happened to happen again.”
An estimated 2,975 people died due to the hurricane, according to a study conducted by the George Washington University. That study only came out in August this year, and the federal government initially pegged the death toll at only 64. The island saw the largest blackout recorded in U.S. History, and it was only last month when power was fully restored to the island. It will reportedly cost $139 billion for the island to fully recover from the effects of Maria. Curbed’s Diana Budds looked at how architects and designers are slowly but surely helping to rebuild the island.