D.C. Mayor Wants Federal Money to Fix National Cathedral

Will petition FEMA for $22 million

Thursday, Oct 20, 2011  |  Updated 9:19 PM EDT
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DC Mayor Vincent Gray said today he'll ask the federal government for $15 million in emergency funds to help repair the Episcopal Washington National Cathedral.

Tom Sherwood

DC Mayor Vincent Gray said today he'll ask the federal government for $15 million in emergency funds to help repair the Episcopal Washington National Cathedral.

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Touring the earthquake-damaged National Cathedral on Thursday, Mayor Vincent Gray said he wants federal money to fix it.

Mayor Gray told reporters he plans on submitting a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, asking for $22 million to repair quake damage in the District.

Of that money, Gray says $7 million would go towards fixing damage to schools and other public buildings.  According to Gray, a portion of the floor in the Wilson building, the District's administrative headquarters, buckled during the August 23 earthquake.

The remainder of the request, $15 million, would go towards repairing the National Cathedral.  Stonework at the top of the cathedral's spires broke and fell during the 5.8 magnitude quake.  Experts from the same engineering firm that inspected the Washington Monument have been climbing through the cathedral's ornate stonework, assessing the extent of the quake damage.

The National Cathedral has experienced recent financial difficulties, having run several years of budget deficits.  However, Andrew Hullinger, director of finance and administration for the cathedral, said millions have been trimmed from the operating budget, and the past two years the books have been balanced.

A fund has been set up for the public to donate money towards the cathedral's repairs.  Hullinger emphasized that money collected in that fund would be strictly used for repair work, and would not go towards operating expenses.

Although considered a D.C. landmark, the National Cathedral is privately owned.

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