National Mall to get $76.8 Million Makeover

As we’ve said before, the National Mall here in D.C. has been in disrepair for some time. Despite hosting some 25 million visitors a year, the national park has only 100 toilets and three places to buy water. The Reflecting Pool is old and grimy, and the Mall’s grass just hasn’t been the same since millions of people visited D.C. for the Inauguration in January.

But finally, after much deliberation, the Department of the Interior announced yesterday that Washington, D.C. will get more than $70 million to restore these “eyesores.” The Washington Post reports $30 million will go to the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool and $7.3 will go to the District of Columbia War Memorial, which has seen very little upkeep in decades.

But the aid doesn’t stop at District lines. Twelve million will go to the C&O Canal, which has more than 180 miles of hiking and bike trails, $3 million will go to Arlington Cemetery’s historic Custis-Lee mansion, and nearly $10 million will go to Skyline Drive, one of the country’s most popular fall foliage drives.

The funding is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which awarded $750 million to the country’s national parks. The money will fund some 750 projects around the U.S.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said that work on the National Mall will begin immediately, and hopes to have the projects complete by September 2010. He told the Post:

“With respect to the National Mall . . . this is but the beginning,”

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he said. “This is a down payment on the challenges that we face on the Mall. . . . This is not Washington, D.C.’s Mall, this is the Mall that belongs to the people of the United States of America. . . . This is part of the best of what is America.”

Photo: StacyN – MichiganMoments via the Intelligent Travel Flickr pool

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