Dear Coalition Friends:
The National Park Service has announced that its nonprofit partner, the Trust for the National Mall, will begin raising funds to help NPS clean up and beautify the National Mall. The Coalition, quoted in the story in USA Today below, welcomes this effort.
You may recall that the NPS’s Trust for the National Mall was created in January 2004. It was announced the day before the National Coalition to Save Our Mall launched our own “Initiative for a Mall Conservancy” by hosting the first of 4 public forums focusing on The National Mall: The Next 100 Years. In our Update from that time , we point out the distinction between the Trust, whose purpose is to raise money to support maintenance and beautification needs for NPS lands, and the Coalition, an independent citizens’ initiative focusing on the future of the National Mall as a whole–including the public buildings, museums, monuments, and public open space from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial and White House to Jefferson Memorial.
Since 2004 the Coalition’s Initiative has generated:
- our 2004 The Future of the National Mall report and video ;
- ideas for an expanded, welcoming, and sustainable “Third Century Mall” ;
- our popular free map and historical guide, The National Mall: Stage for Our Democracy ;
- our Citizens’ Guide to Recreation and Sports on the National Mall; and
- most recently, launch of a new independent, citizens-based nonprofit, the National Mall Conservancy .
By Andrea Stone
November 13, 2007
WASHINGTON – In a city of magnificent vistas, among the finest is the one across the Tidal Basin from the Jefferson Memorial. Yet below, on the monument’s plaza, is a far less pleasant point of view.
Amid mud-soaked grass and crumbling concrete, a “Caution: High Tide” sign warns of water that rises twice daily, spreading 50 feet across the plaza. To avoid the flooding, tourists duck under cherry trees, tromping their roots and killing four or five each year, according to the National Park Service.
Though the memorial itself is solid, the plaza is 8 inches above the century-old seawall in some areas, and it will cost up to $90 million to repair.
The damage at the Jefferson Memorial is part of $350 million in needed repairs and maintenance on the National Mall, the country’s most-visited federal park.
Thursday, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, the park service and the non-profit Trust for the National Mall will launch a public-private partnership to restore “America’s Front Yard.”
The campaign is part of a larger effort announced by President Bush last year to reduce a $5 billion maintenance backlog in the 84 million-acre national park system. The Centennial Initiative aims to raise $1 billion in private donations to match federal funds to revitalize the park system for its 100th anniversary in 2016.
Congress is debating its part of the bargain, but Caroline Cunningham, the trust’s president, says her group plans to begin raising $1.1 million to replace outdated visitor maps on the 2-mile-long National Mall. Washington’s monumental core stretches from the Capitol west to the Lincoln Memorial, and from the Jefferson Memorial north to the White House…
Despite all the memorials, museums and multitudes, federal budgets have not kept up with the needs, park service spokesman Bill Line says.
Judy Scott Feldman of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall welcomes the new effort. “This is much needed,” said Feldman, whose group wants to expand the Mall for future memorials. “It’s a good step to starting to improve public amenities and the look and the beauty of the Mall.”…
For Americans who “have been waiting all their life to come to Washington,” Spain says, “they may be disappointed in the quality, in the trash, that they don’t see green lawns that are every place.”
Joelle Greene, 40, visiting from Upland, Calif., called the Mall’s 10-year backlog of repairs “unacceptable.”
So did her friend, George Searcy, 54: “What would our houses look like if we constantly deferred maintenance?” Nodding toward the Mall, he said, “The whole thing is such an incredible project. It probably deserves whatever it takes to maintain it.”