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Letter: Restoring our Ellis Island is good step

A year after Hurricane Sandy ravaged much of the shores of New Jersey and New York, the American gateway for millions of immigrants at Ellis Island has now reopened.

It was a timely reopening as it is also the 127th birthday of the Statue of Liberty.

Much of the French Renaissance Revival building which serves as the centerpiece of Ellis Island survived the hurricane. But the storm surge into the building’s basement destroyed much of the site’s electrical, computing, phone, heat, water and sewage systems.

The repair tab will likely top $77 million for Ellis and Liberty Islands, according to the National Park Service.

While the Ellis Island Immigration Museum is now open, there is a lot of repair still to be done. More than two-thirds of the museum’s collection remains in storage in Maryland.

Yet the hallowed halls of this Ellis Island building now open to visitors provides a glimpse into American history. Visitors have a chance to walk in their ancestor’s footsteps on the main floor of the museum and the great hall where immigrants were examined.

The National Park Service deserve credit for working hard and promptly on the massive restoration at Ellis Island. Reopening this national monument is an important milestone to the New York-New Jersey shoreline.