Much-needed changes are coming soon to the section of the National Mall surrounding the Lincoln Memorial, courtesy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Improvements will include sidewalks along the reflecting pool, new benches and ADA access but, alas, no changes to the reflecting pool itself.
On Thursday, the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) commented favorably on National Park Service (NPS) plans to rehabilitate the grounds on the east side of the Lincoln Memorial and adjacent areas in West Potomac Park, including the Reflecting Pool and Elm Walks. The latter, which extend past the World War II Memorial to 17th Street, will be refurbished with new lighting, benches, and trash receptacles.
Additionally the plan includes ADA accessible curved paths to connect Lincoln Memorial Circle with the Reflecting Pool. Other changes include a security-barrier, with NCPC recommending shorter walls than the 36-inch walls NPS had planned, to provide integrated seating without detracting from historic structures.
"They are pulling back the concrete and steel barriers and opening the vista, said NCPC Chairman John V. Cogbill, III. "The changes will allow for an unobstructed view between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument."
The project will also eventually address the source and quality of the stagnated water in the reflecting pool, but that portion will be submitted to NCPC at a later date.