Letter in Washington Post: Envisioning the Mall’s Third Century

In a letter published in The Washington Post and posted online, National Mall Coalition chair Judy Scott Feldman touches on the need for a long term plan for the National Mall. Link to the original story in The Post, below, for a fascinating digital reconstruction of the transformation of the Mall over 200 years.

Envisioning the Mall’s third century

The Aug. 28 Arts & Style article “200-year transformation from marsh to Mall,” which coincided with the centennial of the National Park Service, was terrific.

As noted, the Mall, home to world-class monuments and museums, has become a gathering place to showcase our democracy, offering a valuable history lesson about our origins as a country and evolution over two centuries, as well as entertainment, recreation and inspiration for 25 million visitors each year.

Also as noted, it is incumbent on the Mall’s caretakers — in Congress, the White House, the Park Service, the Smithsonian, the National Gallery of Art, the District government and others — to prepare this landscape for its third century. We need a new comprehensive plan to update the last such plan, the McMillan Plan from 1902. We need to expand the Mall’s boundaries — as the McMillan Commission accomplished in expanding the Mall to the Lincoln Memorial — to accommodate future memorials and museums because the American story is still unfolding. We need a visionary plan for our future, notwithstanding that, as noted, in 2003, Congress declared the Mall a completed work of civic art.

And if we really love the Mall and want to preserve it for future generations, then we must focus on the real threat of historic flooding accelerated by climate change. The Post has done the public a great service in presenting the history of and the challenges facing the Mall. Now we the people need to ensure this iconic American landscape continues to thrive and to provide its many benefits.

Judy Scott Feldman, Rockville
The writer is chairwoman of the
National Mall Coalition.

Read the original article referred to in the letter on the Washington Post website complete with interactive graphics:

A 200-year transformation: How the Mall became what it is today 

And, don’t forget to take a look at our slideshow highlighting the history of flooding on the National Mall.


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