The World Trade Center is going to charge an admission fee of between $20 and $25 when the site opens next year, according to the Associated Press.
The exact cost has yet to be determined by the foundation responsible for the construction of the site, but the large fee is the result of high operating costs. Entry to the memorial plaza with twin reflecting pools will remain free of charge.
Many people, especially relatives of the 9/11 victims, are very upset.
"People are coming to pay their respects and for different reasons," Janice Testa, whose brother, Henry Miller, Jr., was a firefighter who died in the twin towers. "It shouldn't be a place where you go and see works of art.
"It should be more like a memorial place like a church that there's no entry fee," she continued. Testa was visiting the memorial on Saturday with relatives visiting from Florida.
The memorial plaza opened in 2011 on the 10th anniversary of the terror attacks, though the museum will not open until 2014. The cost of operating the museum and memorial is estimated to be $60 million a year. As a result, the memorial foundation voted to charge the fee at their board meeting last week.
"This is something that is going to be important and is going to be worth the expenditure," Joseph Daniels, the president of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum said. The museum will be free during certain hours every week and will offer student and senior discounts.
An optional donation was considered, but the board ultimately rejected the idea.
"We decided that it's more fiscally prudent to have a straight ticket charge," Daniels said.
"The World Trade Center site remains a target of interest among terrorists, so the security has to be robust and relentless," Debra Burlingame, a foundation board members whose brother was the pilot of one of the hijacked planes, said. "There's a big price tag on that.
"Would we like to be able to say this is free? Absolutely," Burlingame continued. It is "irresponsible to hope that year after year we have donations that will cover an expense like security."
Many visitors are divided about the charge, understanding the cost, but questioning such a high entrance fee.
"You need to keep it open, you need to keep it running," Valerie Cericola, who thought the entrance fee sound fair, said. "It's an expense."
"I think a donation like $10 would be good," Jennifer Reyes, a friend of Cericola's daughter, said.