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Parks and Lands Bills: S 1053




STATEMENT OF KATHERINE H. STEVENSON,

ACTING DEPUTY DIRECTOR – SUPPORT SERVICES, 

NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, 

BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS 

OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES

CONCERING S. 1053, 

A BILL TO AMEND THE NATIONAL LAW ENFORCEMENT MUSEUM ACT 

TO EXTEND THE TERMINATION DATE.

JULY 15, 2009

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the Department of the Interior's views on S. 1053, a bill to amend the National Law Enforcement Museum Act to extend the termination date.

The Department has no objection to this legislation.S. 1053 would amend section 4(f) of Public Law 106-492 to authorize construction of the Museum to begin up to 13 years after the date of enactment of that law.If amended, the authority to construct the Museum would terminate on November 9, 2013.

Public Law 106-492 authorizes the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (the Fund) to design, plan, construct and maintain a National Law Enforcement Museum on land within U.S. Reservation 7 in the District of Columbia, south of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. Reservation 7 is one of the original public reservations of the City of Washington. With the exception of the Memorial, Reservation 7 has been under the jurisdiction of the District of Columbia since 1970. Reservation 7 is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a significant element of the L'Enfant Plan.

The Act for the new museum requires that the design be approved by the Secretary of the Interior, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts (CFA).Over the past few years, the Fund has coordinated extensively with the National Park Service (NPS), on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior, as well as the courts, the NCPC, CFA, the D.C. State Historic Preservation Officer (DC SHPO), and the District of Columbia government.When the Department appeared before this Committee to testify on S. 1438, a bill to establish a National Law Enforcement Museum on Federal land in the District of Columbia, on April 27, 2000, we were concerned, from an historic preservation standpoint, about the impact of locating a new building within this complex of six historic public buildings dating from 1820 to 1939.However, the careful design and placement of the museum has resolved these concerns, as evidenced by the execution of a Memorandum of Agreement on June 23, 2008, by the DC SHPO, the Fund, the NPS, and NCPC, fulfilling the requirement of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.Site and building plans for the museum were approved by the CFA on May 24, 2008, the NCPC on August 28, 2008.The plans were prepared according to the requirements of the National Law Enforcement Museum Act and are the result of agreements on perimeter security, shared access to the loading facility, the design of the shared plaza, and a pavilion design that is compatible with the Courts' historic buildings at Judiciary Square.

The Act prohibits the Fund from beginning construction of the museum unless the Secretary of the Interior "determines that sufficient amounts are available to complete construction of the Museum." The Secretary currently cannot make this determination. On February 11, 2009, the Fund announced a new time line and budget for the project which was approved by its Board of Directors during the week of February 2, 2009.The announcement proposed a new start date in the fall of 2010, with an anticipated completion of mid-2013.Cost savings measures will reduce the construction budget from $80 million to $51 million, with a corresponding reduction in size from 100,000 square feet to 55,000 square feet and a reduction in the number of floors from four to three.The Fund has advised that these changes will not impact the above-ground features of the museum but will require the re-design of the underground spaces.The reduced footprint will eliminate the need to relocate a number of utilities and will thereby diminish the potential impact to the adjacent Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

The Fund has also advised that the changes will not diminish the design or the visitors' experience; however, the revised plans have not yet been submitted for review.Though the NPS will not own, operate, or maintain the museum, we look forward to reviewing the revised design as required by the National Law Enforcement Museum Act.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared testimony on S. 1053, and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.