Security center in New Jersey for Liberty State Park closed

The security screening center in New Jersey that checks visitors for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is closed because of structural concerns.

Visitors in New Jersey trying to visit the statue or island are being ferried to Lower Manhattan, where they can be screened at a security facility in New York City's Battery Park. Ferries will return to New Jersey.

Officials are trying to come up with a contingency for visitors if the center must remain closed.

National Park Service spokesman Jerry Willis says there was bowing visible Tuesday in the tent-like screening center. The structure features airport-style X-ray screening.

"Getting people from New Jersey to the island is a big priority of ours so we're working to solve the problem as quickly as we can," Willis says.

Willis says about 100 to 300 passengers take the ferry daily from New Jersey in January, compared to 5,000 to 7,000 in July.

Tourists wishing to visit the statue say that they were disappointed by the circumstances. Ana Garcia and her family say they are visiting from Los Angeles and were hoping to see the statue before they went home.

"I was very sad. All I could see was the little hand," Garcia says.

This was apparently the family's second failed attempt to see the statue on the trip. They say they will have to go another time.

"It'll be the first thing we do," says Thomas Ramos. "Just in case, another thing happens or messes up again."

Officials say a representative from the tent's manufacturer will be performing an assessment of the structure as soon possible. The officials were not sure how long it would take to repair.

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