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New Security Plans In Place For Lady Liberty's July 4 Opening

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The Statue of Liberty is reopening July 4, more than seven months after Liberty Island flooded during Hurricane Sandy.

The statue has been closed since Sandy struck the region on Oct. 29, damaging much of the island's infrastructure. The statue itself is on higher ground and was not damaged.

"We are delighted that Lady Liberty will once again be open to the public. We look forward to providing a safe and enjoyable experience to all of our visitors," announced Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Superintendent David Luchsinger. "We appreciate the extraordinary efforts of all of those who are working diligently to re-open the park."

Tickets On Sale For Lady Liberty's July 4 Opening

The National Parks Service will have a new security system in place for the reopening. Officials said visitors will now be screened on Ellis Island after facilities at Liberty State Park and Battery Park were destroyed during the storm.

The NYPD had voiced concerns that moving the screening of ferry passengers from Battery Park and Liberty State Park to Ellis Island left the ferries vulnerable to attack, WCBS 880's Paul Murnane reported.

Security expert David Boehm shared those concerns.

"The setup that they had for both locations is what they should still be doing. Checkpoints should be done before entry on these ships," said Boehm, the COO of Security USA.

A major concern is that the now screening process could allow someone to board a ferry without being fully screened.

But the Parks Service said there will be a mix of law enforcement and technology safeguards in use.

"The facility in Battery Park was always intended to be a temporary site after 9/11. The National Park Service has been exploring options for a suitable, permanent, and sustainable location for a number of years, and Ellis Island had been identified as the site prior to Hurricane Sandy."

Tourists told CBS 2's Derricke Dennis whatever's safer.

"It's one of those precautions that you hope to goodness you never ever have to see if it worked or not. The fact that they have that screening in place should probably make everybody a little more comfortable," said Allie Maloney-Peters of Edmonton, Alberta.

"I think it just makes us secure, so I think it's definitely good, whatever we can do," added Vinay Shachdeb of Boston.

Specific details about the security measures are not being released, but the Parks Service said they include "a coordinated and integrated combination of law enforcement, security personnel, and technology."

A second checkpoint will also be set up inside the Statue of Liberty's base at Liberty Island.

Tickets to visit Liberty Island on July 4 through September may be purchased online or by phone from Statue Cruises. Tickets to the statue's crown are only available by reservation. Visitors will once again be welcomed back to Liberty Island, including the grounds, pedestal, the statue, and limited areas on Ellis Island.

The area will be closed off to the public until the official reopening as crews work to complete repairing and replacing docks, damaged buildings and security screening facilities.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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