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Home Working with Section 106 ACHP Case Digest Fall 2002 District of Columbia: Security Upgrades at the Washington Monument
District of Columbia: Security Upgrades at the Washington Monument
Agency: National Park Service
as a prominent symbol in the Nations capital, the Washington
Monument has received visitors from all over the world since 1888.
The 555-foot obelisk and its grounds are slated to receive permanent
security measures to replace the existing temporary barriers.
The plan has required an expedited but intensive consultation process
to enable the interested public to participate in examining the
potential effects of the proposed modifications on this important
National Register property.
The plan has required an expedited but intensive consultation process to enable the interested public to participate in examining the potential effects of the proposed modifications on this important National Register property.
The National Park Service (NPS) is proposing permanent security measures
for the Washington Monument and its grounds, which NPS administers. The
security upgrade would be combined with visitor enhancements that include
an underground visitor facility and tunnel leading to the monument through
its foundation; the historic 1888 Monument Lodges use as a visitors
entrance to the monument; and a new system of walkways and low walls to
recognizable security barriers on the grounds.
ACHP members and staff tour the Washington Monument grounds, March 2002, Washington, DC (staff photo)
In May 2002, ACHP signed an agreement with NPS, the National Capital Planning Commission, and the District of Columbia State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) that outlines a streamlined review process for the monuments permanent security improvements.
Consulting parties in the Section 106 process included a number of organizations such as the Committee of 100 on the Federal City, the National Coalition to Save Our Mall, Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
As plans have developed, Section 106 consultation meetings have provided a forum for consideration of concerns that have been raised by a number of the participants.
Some consider the Monument Lodge too small to serve as an entrance to both the monument and the proposed underground facility, and they are concerned that the new construction might be incompatible with the character of the monument and the lodge. In addition, they point out that a tunnel must be excavated with care to ensure that the ground upon which the 90,854-ton monument sits is not destabilized.
The plan as currently proposed would change the visitors experience as well, and differing views have been expressed as to whether such change would be positive. Visitors would enter the monument through a tunnel under the monuments lobby, and would exit through the lobby. For visitors viewing the monument from the grounds, the experience would be altered by a skylight and walkways with low retaining walls intersecting the grounds.
As consultation continues on the plan, ACHP will be reviewing studies
NPS develops to identify appropriate parameters for modifications to the
monument and grounds.
Staff contact: Martha Catlin
Posted November 6, 2002
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