National Mall

National Mall

National Mall falling into major disrepair

July 27, 2009, 8:19 am
Crumbling sidewalks near the Jefferson Memorial are sinking into the Tidal Basin. Reflecting pools are filled with green, smelly water. And millions of visitors have trampled the soil into virtual concrete where grass can't grow.

National Mall is in danger of becoming a national disgrace.

"It does not deserve the name 'National Mall,'" said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the city's nonvoting member of Congress. "We ought to call it something else until it looks decent."

The Obama administration recently steered $55 million in economic stimulus money toward repairs, but Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says that's only a down payment on the nearly $400 million needed to fix up a national park that draws more visitors than Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite combined.

An Associated Press analysis of congressional spending since 2005 found the mall has been at a disadvantage in competing for extra funds doled out by lawmakers, compared with sites that are represented by powerful members of Congress. The mall is in Washington, D.C., which has no vote in the House or Senate.