Originally created 05/13/05

Plans for Manhattan sports museum unveiled



NEW YORK - Gov. George Pataki joined sports stars Bob Cousy and Billie Jean King at the unveiling Thursday of plans for a National Sports Museum in lower Manhattan that will become the home of the Heisman Trophy.

The museum, conceived after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack, bills itself as the first major museum in the United States dedicated to all sports. It is set to open next year.

"It's not just sports, it's life," the governor said, referencing moments such as Jackie Robinson's integration of baseball. "And I know that this museum is going to tell that story for the first time."

Pataki said one million visitors are expected each year at the museum.

The Heisman Trophy's former home, the Downtown Athletic Club, was having financial problems before the 2001 terrorist attack caused a steep drop-off in visitors and it closed.

The museum will also house the Bob Cousy Award, given each year to the best point guard in college basketball.

Pataki called the sports museum, to be built with private money plus $52 million in Liberty Bonds, as a key piece of the rebuilding of lower Manhattan.

The governor and other officials made the announcement on the same day Pataki set a June deadline for a new design for the Freedom Tower, the signature building set to rise on the World Trade Center site.

The 100,000-square-foot sports museum will be along the Canyon of Heroes, the stretch of Broadway that has hosted ticker-tape parades for decades.