Controversy has arisen over a cash box placed at the Flight 93 crash site in Shanksville, Pennsylvania by property owner Mike Svonavec, upsetting the families of the crash victims. Svonavec claims that the box was placed there to help cover the costs of maintaining the site, including security which is no longer being covered by federal funding since February. The cost of this service comes to about $10,000 a month. This week, a black plastic trash bag was placed over the box after victims’ families complained about the insensitivity towards the memory of the 40 passengers and crew members who died on the high jacked plane.

A memorial is being constructed at the site in memory of the victims. Planners of the memorial have purchased 60 of the 1,300 acres needed to build the memorial and national park. PBS Coals Inc. owns 864 acres. Svonavec owns 273 acres. The memorial is expected to cost $58 million. Construction has been scheduled to start in late 2008 or early 2009, and a ribbin-cutting ceremony is planned for the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

Svonavec is expecting $10 million for the sale of his 273 acres which is much higher than the amount paid per-acre for the rest of the nearby land. The memorial planners have made three offers, the highest being $500,000. Svonavec has been working with California real estate appraiser Randall Bell who is an expert in appraising properties where disasters have occurred. This may be his most famous case yet.

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