Charles Dharapak/AP

National Mall, in Disrepair, Still Awaiting Improvements

July 21, 2008 07:02 AM
by Cara McDonough
Seventeen dead ducks recently showed up in the reflecting pool at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Many believe the 200-year-old park is overdue for a facelift.

30-Second Summary

A sea wall by the Jefferson Memorial is slowly sinking into the tidal basin. Flooded and cracked walkways have to be blocked off from public use, and water is so dirty that this isn’t the first time dead birds or fish have turned up over the years.

The current situation is “a sorry state of affairs, prompting a growing number of activists to proclaim America’s ‘front yard’ a national disgrace and to launch a series of plans aimed at the most sweeping revitalization of the area in more than a century,” reports Newsweek.

The National Park Service first unveiled an improvement plan for the Mall in 2006. The effort—which marked the first time in 100 years that the planning and future of the park was revisited—was met by with hopeful optimism from citizens concerned about the Mall’s upkeep. But two years have passed and the park, which is visited by 25 million people each year, hasn’t seen any tangible changes.

Just last week the National Capital Planning Commission and U.S. Commission of Fine Arts created a draft for a long-term plan to redesign the Mall, but cost is a major issue.

Judy Feldman, who heads the National Coalition to Save Our Mall, says she’s pleased with the new developments but much more needs to be done—and soon. “People think of the Mall as this great inspiring landscape, which it is, but up close it’s clear that as a nation we’re not giving it the attention it needs,” she said.

Headline Link: A new plan for the National Mall

Video: ‘Planners Seek Better Link Between National Mall, Rest Of D.C.’

Background: A plan is launched in 2006

Key Players: The Mall; The National Coalition to Save Our Mall

Related Topics: The National Mall’s importance in American history

Opinion & Analysis: Mall ‘needs some pampering’

Reference: National Parks Service


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