NPS Meeting to Improve Lincoln Memorial’s Reflecting Pool

Dear Coalition Friends,

Separate from its ongoing National Mall Plan (the subject of yesterday’s UPDATE), the National Park Service is planning rehabilitation of and improvements to the Lincoln Memorial’s Reflecting Pool and surrounding areas.  

This project appears to be on a fast track following the first public meeting in July 2009. The next public meeting to review the plans will take place on January 5, 2010 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Old Post Office Pavilion, Room M-09, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C.

The National Park Service has released an Environmental Assessment (EA) for this project. See the Press Release below. The EA is difficult to find through the link provided below; to go directly to it, click here.

The EA will be available for public review and comment through midnight on January 29, 2010.  

UPDATE: readers will recall that on October 13, 2009, the National Coalition to Save Our Mall submitted comments to the Park Service proposing a sustainable alternative –– including granular surface walkways and self-cleaning bio-filtration — to the Park Service’s 6 design options, all of which were conventional engineering oriented solutions. Read our October 22 UPDATE on this project and our letter at:

In addition, we have pointed out that the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and grounds, which are integral components of the design, symbolism, and visitor experience of the National Mall, must be part of the larger National Mall Plan. Whatever is proposed at the Reflecting Pool — paving materials, lighting design, water features, and so on — may set a precedent for changes throughout the entire National Mall.  However, the NPS continues to treat the Mall Plan and the Reflecting Pool changes as separate, unrelated projects.

The federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation wrote the Coalition on December 11 acknowledging that we raised “important concerns regarding long-term comprehensive planning for the entire National Mall and the use of such a plan to guide individual projects.”

After the holidays, we will send additional UPDATES as we review and evaluate the EA.


Release Date:  Thursday, December 17, 2009
Contact: Bill Line, Toni Braxton 202 619-7400

National Park Service Releases Environmental Assessment (EA) for Rehabilitation of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and surrounding area; Public Review and Comment Sought

Washington, D.C.  — The National Park Service (NPS), announces the availability of the Rehabilitation of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and surrounding area EA for public review and comment. This project will be funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  It will provide for much needed repairs and improvements to this major feature in the Nation’s capital as well as contribute to the local economic recovery.

This EA evaluates two alternatives, the preferred alternative and the no action alternative, and also describes those alternatives considered but dismissed. The proposed action includes new permanent walkways along the north and south sides of the Reflecting Pool and the refurbishment of the paving, site furnishings and lighting (which will be made permanent) along the Elm Walks.  The project will include refurbishment of the lower approachway as well as new accessible pedestrian paths up to the Memorial plaza.  The temporary vehicular barriers on the east side of the Memorial plaza will be replaced with permanent barriers which will be integrated into the new accessible pedestrian walkways in a manner that is much more consistent with the historic character of the Memorial’s design.

The EA has been prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969, as amended, and implementing regulations, 40 CFR 1500-1508, and NPS Director’s Order #12 and Handbook, Conservation Planning, Environmental Impact Analysis, and Decision-making (DO-12). Compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 has been completed separately from this NEPA process.  Compliance with NPS, Director’s Order 77-2: Floodplain Management is being completed in conjunction with this EA.

To review and comment on the EA, the public is directed to go to the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) site (the NPS’ preferred method of receiving comments), at: www.parkplanning.nps.gA.ov/NAM

To request a hard copy, please e-mail Perry Wheelock at and provide us with your mailing address. To ensure the quickest turn-around time, please note in the subject line “REQUEST FOR HARD COPY – LINCOLN MEMORIAL REFLECTING POOL EA.”

The  public  may also review copies of the EA, which will also be available at the following locations:

Martin Luther King Library
901 G St, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20001

Southeast Branch Library
403 7th Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C.   20003

Southwest Branch Library
900 Wesley Place, S.W.
Washington, D.C.  20024

National Park Service
National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, S.W.
Washington, D.C.   20242

The EA will be available for public review and comment through midnight on January 29, 2010.   Written comments should be addressed to Terri Urbanowski, National Park Service – Denver Service Center, 12795 West Alameda Parkway, Lakewood, CO  80288-2838,  RE: Rehabilitation of the Reflecting Pool EA.

Before including any home address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in anyone’s comment, the public should be aware that their entire comment – including their personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time. While anyone may ask the NPS in their comment to withhold their personal identifying information from public review, the NPS cannot guarantee it will be able to do so.

For additional information on this project, the National Park Service will hold a public meeting presenting the range of proposed actions for circulation, infrastructure, and security improvements at the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and surrounding area as presented in the EA.  The National Park Service will be taking written comments at this time.  The National Park Service also plans to continue Section 106 consultation on the proposed repairs and improvements and this public meeting will concurrently serve as the third consulting parties meeting for this project. Please respond to Perry Wheelock, Chief of Cultural Resources at the NPS National Capital Region ( if you plan to attend.

The meeting will take place on January 5, 2010 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Old Post Office Pavilion, Room M-09, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W., Washington, D.C.


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