Norton Pushes for National Mall Improvements

Bill could expand Mall boundaries

Wednesday, May 25, 2011  |  Updated 12:21 PM EDT
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Norton Pushes for Mall Improvements

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Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton reintroduced the National Mall Revitalization and Designation Act on Wednesday.

The measure authorizes the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) to expand the boundaries of the Mall where commemorative works may be located. The goal is to relieve pressure on the already crowded central Mall. 

Norton’s measure requires the Secretary of the Interior to submit a plan to Congress within 180 days addressing ways to enhance the Mall’s amenities, cultural experiences, and vitality.

“The National Mall is Washington’s most neglected and underutilized federal property yet perhaps its best known and most treasured,” Norton said in a statement. “The Mall needs a total makeover for the 21st century, but I recognize that the federal funds needed to make the Mall the 21st century destination it should be would be difficult to secure in this fiscal climate.  We can move now to rescue this space and expand its boundaries to accommodate commemorative works while adding low- and no-cost cultural and other amenities to make the Mall an inviting place.”

The NCPC and the Commission on Fine Arts released a National Capital Framework Plan in 2009 that identifies sites near the Mall that are suitable for new commemorative works, including East Potomac Park, the Kennedy Center Plaza, and the new South Capitol gateway. 

Five new memorials are scheduled for such sites, including the Eisenhower Memorial and the U.S. Air Force Memorial.  Norton’s bill gives NCPC authority to designate spaces that are considered part of the Mall.

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