WASHINGTON DC – In remarks today at a benefit for the National Mall, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar outlined a vision for a public-private campaign to restore the nation's most visited national park, and thanked the National Park Service's many private, philanthropic, and non-profit partners for their support. The remarks were made at the Trust for the National Mall's Annual Benefit Luncheon.
“The National Mall is where we come to learn about our country, our leaders, and to celebrate our shared values of equality and freedom,” Secretary Salazar said. “It is imperative that we work with our philanthropic partners, the private sectors, and all Americans to ensure this special park - our most visited National Park – is able to carry forward our nation's principles, ideals, and stories for the generations that follow.”
Secretary Salazar also announced today that former First Lady Laura Bush has agreed to serve as honorary chair of the national campaign to restore the National Mall. The $350 million campaign is being managed by the Trust for the National Mall, the official partner of the National Park Service for the National Mall.
“Laura Bush's participation is a tremendous validation of the importance of the National Mall to our country, and we are fortunate to have her join the effort,” said John E. “Chip” Akridge, III, Chairman of the Trust for the National Mall. “We look forward to working with the Secretary of the Interior and the American people on this historic campaign.”
Over the last two years, the Administration has invested $60 million in job-creating restoration projects already underway on the National Mall, including the reconstruction of the Jefferson Memorial seawall, the revitalization of the Lincoln Memorial landscape and reflecting pool, and the restoration of the DC War Memorial to WWI Veterans.
Last November, Salazar signed the National Mall Plan, a comprehensive blueprint for the first major renovation of the park since 1976.
“I believe we have crafted a plan that will make all Americans proud of the National Mall,” National Park Service Director Jon Jarvis said. “We are honored by Laura Bush's participation in the campaign to make this plan a reality just as we have been honored to welcome her as a frequent visitor to America's national parks. She knows first-hand the importance of these places as the keepers of America's stories and as great destinations to share with family and friends.”
Projects in the National Mall Plan will include: