Washington Monument To Be Repaired After Earthquake
Federal and private funding to thank for meeting estimated expenses
It’s not exactly common that the East Coast feels an earthquake—so when the 5.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Virginia on August 23, 2011, not only were residents stunned, but some of our National Mall and Memorial Parks were shaken up to the point of damage. The Washington Monument was among the important structures in our nation’s capital that suffered seismic damage.
In November, President Obama even approved a disaster declaration for the area after assessment. In fact, due to the geology of the area and general structure of East Coast buildings, the U.S. Geological Survey is calling the event the “most widely-felt earthquake in U.S. history.”
It’s been assessed that the 555-foot-tall Washington Monument—with its many cracked and chipped stone blocks, elevator and other damages—will probably cost about $15 million to repair. The monument has been closed to the public, and while the National Park Service is unsure when it will reopen—due to reliance on federal, private and non-profit funding—they expect to award a contract to repair the iconic structure by August 2012.
In fact, philanthropist David M. Rubenstein recently matched the federal funds approved by Congress this past December: a whopping total of $7.5 million, making the total sum concurrent with the estimated cost of repair.
“David Rubenstein is a true patriot and we are grateful for his significant and generous contribution to restore the Washington Monument,” says Caroline Cunningham, President of the Trust for the National Mall.
“America has been very good to me and I am humbled to be able to honor the father of our country in this way,” says Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle group, of his gift. The National Park System has thrived on many contributions, including those of Stephen T. Mather, Mr. And Mrs. William Kent, John D. and Laurence S. Rockefeller.