Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of major restoration projects at the New York State Capitol, as well as the installation of museum quality exhibits throughout the building featuring many artifacts never before publicly displayed that tell the history of New York. Governor Cuomo commemorated the occasion with a ribbon cutting in the Governor's Reception Room and with the unveiling of the restored Assembly skylight.
"The restoration of the Capitol is a symbol of our efforts to restore confidence and performance in our state government," Governor Cuomo said. "The Capitol was once a shining symbol of democracy, but it has been degraded by years of neglect. The building has now been brought back to life ahead of schedule and at less cost to taxpayers. Now, our Capitol will once again be a beacon for all New Yorkers, welcoming them to be a part of their state government -- present, past, and future."
Last year, Governor Cuomo announced a significant acceleration of the Capitol restoration project, which had led to the completion of work years ahead of schedule. Originally, the entire 14 year restoration project was scheduled for completion in July 2014, but under the Governor's revised timetable, work is now expected to be substantially completed by the fall of 2012. The Governor's new plan also reduced the project costs by $2.3 million.
Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos said, "In just one year, we've restored the people's confidence in their government and proven that Albany can be functional and accountable to New York taxpayers and their families. And, thanks to the leadership and vision of Governor Cuomo, the physical restoration of the Capitol is now complete - - ahead of schedule and under budget. This announcement builds on our many successes and once again shows what we can accomplish by working together. On behalf of my Senate colleagues, I look forward to many more good things to come in the year ahead."
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "The New York State Capitol is truly an historic structure. Landmark legislation that has changed the lives of New Yorkers, and all Americans, has been debated in these hallways. I applaud Governor Cuomo for making the restoration of the Capitol, and the unveiling of the exquisite Assembly skylight, a priority. Generations of New Yorkers who visit the Capitol can now appreciate its treasures."
Commissioner of the Office of General Services RoAnn Destito said, "Governor Cuomo's commitment to giving state government back to the people is evident with the beautiful renovation of the Capitol. It is an honor for our agency to be a part of making more of this magnificent building accessible to all New Yorkers and to serve as the stewards of the historic items that are now on display."
Harold Holzer, Senior Vice President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and an advisor to the restoration to the Hall of Governors, said, "The paintings in the Hall of Governors have long deserved a display equal to their historical and artistic importance, one that again makes them easy to see and at last brings context to the leaders they portray. Governor Cuomo's leadership in re-conceiving the Hall of Governors will at last make the pictures more accessible and more meaningful for the public. I thank the local museum community for contributing so much to this new installation and interpretation, especially Mark Schaming of the State Museum, Tammis Kane Groft of the Albany Institute of Art, Capitol Architect James Jamieson, State Archivist Christine Ward, and Matthew Bender of the New York State Commission on the Restoration of the Capitol."
Matthew Bender IV of the New York State Commission on the Restoration of the Capitol said, "The Capitol Commission applauds Governor Cuomo for energetically pursuing the restoration of this National Historic Landmark. The commission congratulates the Governor on achieving his goal of reopening the Capitol to the public and breathing new life into this historic building. The newly reinstalled portraits in the Hall Of Governors, with improved lighting, new labels, and historic artifacts from the New York State Museum, will serve to enhance the visitor's experience. The newly restored and reopened Assembly skylight and staircase are also examples of Governor Cuomo's commitment to completing the restoration of the Capitol's main public spaces for New York citizens to enjoy this year and in the future."
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