PITTSBURGH (AP) — More and more people are visiting the Flight 93 National Memorial in rural western Pennsylvania, authorities say, and new construction is scheduled to begin next year.
At the current pace, more than 1,000 bus groups will visit the park this year, almost double the number in 2011, said King Laughlin, vice president of the Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign. More than 200,000 people are expected to visit this year.
"It really seems to resonate with school groups and bus groups," Laughlin said Friday.
Park officials hope to break ground on a visitor center next spring, Laughlin said, as well as tree plantings and new walkways, all scheduled to be completed by 2014. A third phase, which could cost $5 million or more, will include a learning center and a tower at the entrance with 40 wind chimes. Price estimates for the whole project ranged from $67 million to $76 million.
Many improvements have been made since the park opened last year, including reforestation and other landscaping, said Patrick White, president of Families of Flight 93.