As D.C.'s cherry blossoms enter peak bloom, a coalition of nonprofits are announcing plans to repair and preserve key parts of Washington's Tidal Basin.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced Wednesday plans to partner with the Trust for the National Mall and the National Park Service to update infrastructure at the Tidal Basin, the reservoir in the southwest D.C. home to the famous cherry blossoms.
Organizers say the Tidal Basin faces an uncertain future without improvements, especially because the walkways around the Tidal Basin consistently flood at high tide and make navigating the area difficult, while also threatening the roots of the cherry trees.
A crumbling sea wall, "substandard" visitor facilities around the area and perimeter safety concerns at the Jefferson Memorial all present additional challenges for the Tidal Basin's future, a spokesperson for the National Trust for Historic Preservation told News4.
In total, repairs to the 107-acre area are estimated at $500 million, the trust said.
“As part of 'America's front yard,' the Tidal Basin is home to some of the most iconic landmarks and traditions in the nation’s capital,” Katherine Malone-France, interim chief preservation officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation said in a news release. “Yet current conditions do not do justice to a landscape of such significance."
The #SavetheTidalBasin campaign, as it is being called, will also launch the National Mall Tidal Basin Ideas Lab, a process for architectural and landscape design firms to pitch solutions to five challenges, including security, circulation, hydrology, cultural landscape and visitor experience, according to a news release.
“We are proud to lead this initiative with our partners to reimagine the Tidal Basin in a way that will have a lasting effect for our capital city and the 36 million visitors who come each year to take in the Basin’s beauty and history, including the beloved cherry trees,” Catherine Townsend, president and CEO of the Trust for the National Mall, said in a news release.
The campaign also invites members of the public to sign a pledge to be informed about preservation efforts at the basin.