Honoring Disabled Veterans

Posted April 2, 2004 at 5:58pm

The National Capital Planning Commission last week unanimously approved concept design plans for the construction of a national memorial dedicated to the United States’ 2.3 million disabled veterans. The Commission on Fine Arts, which must also approve the plans, gave the concept designs its blessing last month. [IMGCAP(1)]

Both agencies must still approve preliminary and final design plans. No ground can be broken until the Disabled Veterans’ LIFE Memorial Foundation, which is funding the $60 million project through private donations, has raised 100 percent of the construction costs plus 10 percent of that for National Park Service upkeep, as outlined by federal law.

A foundation official estimated that it would be three to five years before ground is broken.

Designed by Arlington, Va.-based Michael Vergason Landscape Architects Ltd., the memorial is slated to be built at Washington Avenue and Second Street Southwest, one block west of the Rayburn House Office Building. According to the concept design, the roughly triangular memorial will be constructed of glass and granite or marble, and will feature a central pool with a flame. A portion of C Street, which runs through the proposed 2-acre site, will be moved to accommodate the memorial.

Legislation authorizing the memorial was signed into law Oct. 24, 2000.

South Capitol Improvements. The South Capitol corridor is slated to receive $20 million in improvements as part of the Transportation reauthorization bill passed by the House last week.

The funds would be used for structural improvements, environmental studies and general safety improvements to the Frederick Douglass Bridge and South Capitol Street.

The Senate earlier passed its version of the reauthorization, which does not include earmarks; differences between the two bills must be reconciled in conference.

“Congressman Hoyer is confident it will remain in the bill, and he’ll continue to work to make sure that occurs,” said Katie Elbert, a spokeswoman for House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), a key backer of the funds.

In a statement, Hoyer praised the move as a “positive step … which will improve access to Washington, D.C., and will increase the safety of residents, commuters and visitors as they travel into the city.”

Congress appropriated $7 million in rehabilitation funds for the corridor in fiscal 2004.

— Bree Hocking