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9/11 Museum Will Have A Mandatory Entrance Fee

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Some of the families of victims who died on September 11th, as well as visitors to the site, are complaining about a proposed mandatory fee at the future museum in Lower Manhattan. NY1's Natasha Ghoneim filed the following report.

With a nonstop flow of people coming and going, the National September 11th Memorial and Museum has become one of New York's most popular attractions.

"We all feel the loss as well as the family members," one man said. "So the donations that they are receiving, I'm sure, with the thousands and thousands of people visiting, I'm sure they should be making enough."

But museum officials say they need more money to cover operating costs. That's why the board has voted to impose a $20 to $25 fee when the underground museum opens next year.

Jim Riches, who lost a son during the attacks, said he's outraged.

"It's become a real commercial enterprise and it looks like that," Riches said. "We think it's disgusting and revolting. If they had a suggested donation I think all Americans would be very patriotic."

Visitors who spoke to NY1 not only bristled at the idea of a mandatory fee, but at the proposed price.

"I don't feel like it's very honorable to have an admissions price," one woman said. "Our nation's capital has hundreds of memorials and they charge no admission for any of them."

"It should be open to honor folks who have lost their lives and it could be really cost prohibitive for a lot of people who want to visit," another woman said.

Many people told us if a fee is necessary, it should only be about $10 to $15.

New Jersey firefighter Steve Parker said there should be an exception for those who lost loved ones on 9/11.

"Maybe give out an annual pass or something to those who actually lost family members and they can actually get in free of charge," Parker said.

Museum officials stress that they do not receive taxpayer's money.

"As a nonprofit organization that relies on the support of the public, not city, state or federal funding for our operations, we are exploring an admission fee in line with other comparable institutions," the museum told NY1 in a statement.

Riches said he'd accept a smaller price of admission, but that it's another sign the board of the museum is being wasteful.

"We didn't ask for anything extravagant we just want a memorial to our loved ones and we feel they've lost the message," Riches said.

Riches believes the only way to recapture it is by allowing the National Parks Service to operate the memorial.

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