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Home arrow Working with Section 106 arrow Section 106 in Action arrow Archive of Prominent Section 106 Cases arrow District of Columbia: World War II Memorial

District of Columbia: Creation of World War II Memorial (Closed Case Follow-up)

Agency: National Park Service

In September 2000, ACHP issued formal comments on the proposal to build the World War II Memorial, notifying the Secretary of the Interior that the project would result in serious and unresolved adverse effects to the National Mall. Shortly thereafter, opponents of the project filed suit in U.S. District Court. As a result of this legal challenge, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) scheduled public hearings and an expert panel session in order to reconsider its approvals of the memorial’s site and design and to allow for additional public input.

Model of World War II Memorial     Model of proposed World War II Memorial (staff photo)

However, on Memorial Day, President Bush signed legislation into law that orders construction of the memorial to proceed. H.R. 1696, “An act to expedite the construction of the World War II memorial in the District of Columbia,” prohibits further judicial or other review of all decisions made to date regarding the siting and design of the memorial. The new law was challenged in court by opponents to the project, but the challenge was rejected.

Certain features of the memorial’s design, not yet reviewed pursuant to the Commemorative Works Act, remain subject to review and approval by NCPC and the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA). These include lighting, any sculptural element in the reconstructed Rainbow Pool, and the design and content of as-yet unplanned inscriptions and artwork.

In addition, environmental issues may have a bearing on engineering aspects of the memorial, which is to be sited on tidal flats prone to flooding, and whose groundwater is known to contain arsenic. Engineering of systems to decontaminate and pump the groundwater have yet to be completed and submitted for review by NCPC and CFA.

Fall 2000 report on this case

Staff contact: Martha Catlin

Updated June 6, 2002

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