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Posted at 3:45 PM ET, 11/ 9/2010

Plan to restore, transform Mall signed

By Michael E. Ruane

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Tuesday signed the official "record of decision" for the National Park Service's long-range plan for development and conservation of the National Mall.

During a blustery outdoor ceremony at the Jefferson Memorial, Salazar and National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis signed the document that government officials hope will transform the beleaguered "front yard" of the nation.
The plan is a general blueprint for improvement of some of the most tattered areas of the grand park that stretches from the U.S. Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial.

It is projected to cost more than $600 million. Estimates are that the Mall currently has some $400 million just in deferred maintenance.

Among other things, the plan envisions transformations of such places as Union Square at the foot of the west front of the Capitol. The striking Grant Memorial would be refurbished, and the existing reflecting pool would be reduced in size.

The turf and trees along the Mall would be improved. A welcome plaza near the Smithsonian Metro station would be created.

Around the Washington Monument, the dilapidated Sylvan Theater would be replaced with a multipurpose facility.

The Constitution Gardens lake would be reconstructed, and a multipurpose visitor center with rest rooms and food service would be built.

The entire Tidal Basin seawall would be rebuilt and its walkways widened.

There is currently no funding for any of these projects, officials said. But the plan clears the way for fund raising and detailed designing.

Salazar said some improvements on the Mall have lifted its grade to a C. The goal, he said, is an A.

Several Mall projects have been funded by federal government economic recovery money. They include rehabilitation of the Jefferson Memorial Tidal Basin seawall, the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool, and the so-called DC War Memorial, honoring district residents who served in World War I.

All are currently underway.

By Michael E. Ruane  | November 9, 2010; 3:45 PM ET
Categories:  DC  
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The Mall should be the crown jewel of this country. I've been to many cities in the U.S., and in my opinion, none match the beauty or majesty of Washington, D.C. A great, great place to visit. This is good news.

Posted by: ANCLvr | November 9, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

I'm happy to hear about the turf on the especially. I had a friend come into town from FL and when we approached the mall from the Capital side he was really surprised at how bad of shape it was in. I tried to explain it gets a lot of traffic and Obama's inauguration probably helped do it in, but then when we stopped to use the restrooms and they were super gross, which would definitely be to neglect. Then the last time I was there I saw this little building torn apart and the whole place just looked shot to hell! I love DC and go alot but the mall needs some attention for sure. Having a bunch of construction that lasts forever would not be good though.

Posted by: SusanMarie2 | November 9, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

What are they going to ruin? There's always something these grand scheme, ego infested*, committee-inspire plans destroy.

I hope they preserve the sand/gravel broad walk ways and don't replace them with asphalt. I will be horribly disappointed if that happens.

*I have no personal knowledge that the Mall reformation was wreck by imperial knowitalls. I just generally suspect of any grand enterprise. I apologize.

Posted by: smoke111 | November 9, 2010 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Will any of these improvements come to pass? As the Teabaggers descend on the Capitol preaching love of self above of love of country we'll be lucky if NPS can scrape up enough funds to keep the restrooms stocked with toilet paper.

Posted by: washpest | November 9, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

$600 million? You could build 50 golf courses for that amount and have money left over, especially since you don't have to buy the land. Why not turn the mall over to a golf course company to maintain?..that might require maintenance workers to actually do some work.

As for the idiot babbling on about tea-baggers, pretty typical of daily-kook socialist economy-wrecking red thought. Others can through around insults too you apparatchik lover of the goolag.

Posted by: wjc1va | November 10, 2010 7:52 AM | Report abuse

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