Wal-Mart's charitable foundation has announced a $12.5 million letter of credit for the planned Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to help expedite construction.
The financial backing would help the group working on the memorial submit required documents to the National Park Service to obtain a construction permit, a spokeswoman for the project said.
The memorial may hit a snag, though, because of a disagreement over how to secure the site. That may delay progress until 2009.
The National Park Service is insisting that the memorial's design include security measures, like security barriers, to protect the site from possible threats from extremist groups. But other agencies with authority over the site and design have resisted such barriers, calling them an embarrassment to King's legacy of inclusiveness.
The group working to build the memorial has raised $100 million of the $120 million needed for the project.