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President Bush Returns Historic Governors Island to New York
GSA Announces Transfer, Preservation of National Monument

GSA #9998

January 31, 2003
Contact: Viki Reath 202-501-1231
viki.reath@gsa.gov

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) today announced the return of Governors Island to the City and State of New York for educational use, ending the 202-year federal ownership. The island's National Monument, which consists of Castle Williams, Fort Jay and 22 adjacent acres, was transferred to the Department of Interior's National Park Service.

"The transfer of Governors Island is a significant accomplishment for GSA, one that involved strong working partnerships among our agency, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Department of Interior, and the State and City of New York," GSA Administrator Stephen A. Perry said, after participating in signing the documents at the White House. "We are very proud that, working together, we could meet the President's vision."

Half the 172-acre island, a 20-minute ferry ride from Manhattan's southern tip, has been designated a historic district. Some of the island's 225 buildings date to the 1700s, when British troops surrendered it to American forces in 1783. The State of New York assumed possession until 1800, when it ceded the island to the federal government. The U.S. Army occupied the island for 150 years, turning it over to the Coast Guard in 1966. After nearly 30 years, in 1995, the Coast Guard announced it, too, would relocate.

GSA, which handles federal property disposals, assumed responsibility for Governors Island disposition in 1995. Two years later, in 1997, Congress directed GSA to sell it at a date after Oct. 1, 2001 and to give the City and State of New York right of first offer.

GSA is a centralized federal procurement and property management agency created by Congress to improve government efficiency and help federal agencies better serve the public. It acquires, on behalf of federal agencies, office space, equipment, telecommunications, information technology, supplies and services. GSA, comprised of 14,000 associates, provides services and solutions for the office operations of over 1 million federal workers located in 8,300 government -owned and leased buildings in 1,600 U.S. communities.