The Interior Department just announced that some of Washington, D.C.’s parks will receive funding for improvements and rehabilitation under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, including the National Mall and the large and maintenance-backlogged Rock Creek Park, the city’s largest park. The Washington Post:
The District of Columbia War Memorial, the domed temple to the city’s World War I veterans and once one of the jewels of the Mall, has since fallen into crumbling neglect, forgotten with the passage of time and generations.
Yesterday, the Department of the Interior announced that the government will spend $7.3 million on its restoration, along with $69.5 million in the Washington region to fix other eyesores, repair the Jefferson Memorial seawall and rehabilitate infrastructure in Rock Creek Park.
More than $30 million will go to fix the Lincoln Memorial reflecting pool, and several million will go to the Jefferson Memorial, where the seawall has been slowly slipping into the Tidal Basin for years.
The government will also spend $12 million on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, about $3 million on Arlington House, the historic mansion in Arlington Cemetery, and $5 million on Rock Creek Park, the department said.
As the article points out, however, this is only a drop in the bucket for rehabilitating the capital’s beleagured national parks (which constitute most of the city’s parkland). The Mall alone has a $400 million improvement backlog – and anyone who visits can easily see the need. Regardless, this seems to be an important first step.