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December 19, 2014

Posts in "Eisenhower Memorial"

November 26, 2014

Eisenhower Memorial Plan Still Faces Skepticism, Despite Approvals

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Simpson, left, and Calvert both want consensus from the Eisenhower family. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Capitol Hill’s representatives on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission remain skeptical the monument to the 34th president will break ground next year, despite rosy projections from commission staff.

“Ultimately, what I think you’ve got to have is a buy-in from the Eisenhower family,” said Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, one of six members of Congress on the bipartisan commission. Anne and Susan Eisenhower have requested a simpler design, although the current plan has gained traction with two of the federal entities that must sign off on final plans for the Southwest Washington memorial park.

“I don’t think you can do a memorial when you’ve got the family opposed to it,” Simpson said. He declined to give his own opinion of architect Frank Gehry’s plan for statues of Ike as a young boy in Kansas, World War II commander and president, set against a massive stainless steel tapestry depicting prairie scenery. Gehry’s plan originally called for two additional tapestries. But those were scrapped, leaving two freestanding 80-foot columns that have continued to draw criticism. Full story

October 3, 2014

Second Senator Quits Eisenhower Memorial Commission

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Reed served on the Eisenhower Memorial Commission from 2001 until this week. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A second senator has quietly cut ties with the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission.

Two weeks after Kansas Republican Jerry Moran submitted his resignation, the EMC received a letter from Rhode Island Democrat Jack Reed notifying them of his exit. By law, the commission is composed of four presidential appointees and four members of each chamber, appointed by leadership. Reed’s resignation leaves the 12-member panel with 10 commissioners.

In a statement to CQ Roll Call, the senator’s office indicated he decided to pull out after Moran stepped down on Sept. 17. The move is aimed at introducing some fresh viewpoints on the long-delayed project. “Senator Reed has been honored to serve on the commission for over a decade,” Chip Unruh, press secretary for the senator, said in an email.

“Now is a good time to give someone else a chance and bring in new perspectives,” he continued. “And with the departures of both Senators Moran and Reed, it restores parity. Senator Reed has the utmost respect for all parties involved. He believes the commission will continue working to build a fitting monument to President Eisenhower.”

Reed abstained from a Wednesday vote that sent architect Frank Gehry’s revised design to the National Capital Planning Commission for preliminary design approval. The NCPC advanced the design during its Thursday meeting, by a 10-1 vote.

Moran, who was appointed to the commission as a member of the House in 2001, came to the conclusion that his staunch advocacy for making Kansas part of the design was blocking the memorial from completion. He was a fan of the tapestries depicting scenes from the Kansas prairie. Gehry revised the design this summer by cutting two of three tapestries.

Rocco Siciliano, chairman of the EMC, announced Reed’s resignation in a statement issued Friday.

“As one of our founding commissioners, Senator Reed has selflessly served on the Commission with great energy and attention since its inception in 2001,” he said. “As a military veteran and graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he provided keen insight into the importance of President and General Eisenhower’s military experience and leadership to the fundamental core of Eisenhower’s roots and legacy. I and the other Commissioners appreciate his long, dedicated service, and his counsel will be sorely missed as we press forward with this important project.”

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They Like Ike on a 10-1 Vote

Members of Congress Skip Confusing Eisenhower Memorial Meeting

It’s Time to Finish Ike’s Memorial | Letter to the Editor

It’s Time to Bury Frank Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial | Commentary

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They Like Ike in 10-1 Vote

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Simpson still has qualms about the Gehry design. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Capital Planning Commission gave preliminary design approval, 10-1, to architect Frank Gehry’s latest plan for a memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower Thursday, with a nudge toward more modifications.

While no members of Congress attended the downtown Washington meeting, Capitol Hill’s influence was apparent.

Two congressional staffers voted in support of the action, on behalf of House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., reflecting a desire to move forward with the long-delayed memorial. Issa has been trying to bring disparate camps together to get the project, now 15 years in the making, back on track. Full story

September 24, 2014

Jerry Moran Quits Eisenhower Memorial Commission

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Moran quietly resigned last week. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Despite criticism, the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission plans to seek preliminary approval of architect Frank Gehry’s latest design during an Oct. 2 meeting of the National Capital Planning Commission.

The fight surrounding Gehry’s plan led Sen. Jerry Moran to quietly slip his resignation into the Congressional Record last week, leaving the embattled, 12-member panel with one less supporter of architect Gehry’s contentious design. The Kansas Republican’s resignation could have cleared the way for an alternative, but a majority of commissioners rejected that idea.

Moran and six other members of Congress who sit on the commission — including fellow Kansas Republican Pat Roberts — skipped the most recent briefing on the memorial. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., abstained from the most recent round of votes. Full story

September 19, 2014

Members of Congress Skip Confusing Eisenhower Memorial Meeting

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Gehry, left, may not be party to the final design. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Only one of the eight members of Congress who sit on the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission attended a Wednesday afternoon meeting on the design, the latest attempt to move forward the project now 15 years in the making.

Rep. Sanford D. Bishop Jr., D-Ga., didn’t get to see the entire hour-long presentation, he told CQ Roll Call, because he had to leave for a House vote. Bishop didn’t miss much action: The fate of architect Frank Gehry’s design is undetermined, and a familiar chorus of critics are still calling for a restart.

Executive Architect Daniel J. Feil briefed the body on Gehry’s modified design — a plan that the Eisenhower family opposes — and a second alternative that would not include Gehry’s name. The first option was unveiled during a Sept. 4 National Capital Planning Commission, but there is only a vague idea about what the second might look like.

Without a quorum present, the commission could not take any public votes on how to proceed.

“This looks like a federal commission sowing confusion and controversy,” said Sam Roche, who represents the group Right by Ike, an organization pushing to replace the Gehry design with a public competition. Full story

September 16, 2014

Critics Reject Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial Compromise, Optimistic About Change

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Susan Eisenhower, granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, wants a simpler design. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call FIle Photo)

After 15 years of planning a memorial to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the design might move forward without architect Frank Gehry’s name attached to it.

In a Wednesday meeting blocks from Capitol Hill, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission will be presented with two plans for the four-acre site in Southwest Washington slated to become a memorial to the 34th president. There is no guarantee any official action will be taken, but the Eisenhower family, members of Congress and other stakeholders indicate the most recent compromise offered by the Gehry team is not the way forward.

That version includes the 80-foot columns that a member of the National Capital Planning Commission two weeks ago described as reminiscent of the “latter scenes of ‘Planet of the Apes,’” and a stainless steel tapestry featuring scenes from Ike’s pastoral Kansan roots. An alternate version removes the tapestry and columns, and Gehry has indicated that would not be associated with his name. Full story

September 4, 2014

Issa Ready to Move Forward on Revised Eisenhower Memorial

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Issa says it’s time to move forward with the Eisenhower Memorial. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Darrell Issa spent 15 minutes Thursday afternoon strolling the four-acre site in Southwest Washington slated to become a memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The California Republican found the plot adjacent to the headquarters of the Department of Education to be in “awful, awful” condition, he later told the National Capital Planning Commission. To get the ball rolling on the project that will transform the blighted federal property, the House Oversight and Government Reform chairman said he is ready to support a revised version of the contentious Eisenhower Memorial design by architect Frank Gehry.

“We can’t go back to square one,” Issa told the commission, acknowledging a scathing report from the House Natural Resources Committee and objections from many stakeholders, including those who knew the 34th president personally. Members of Congress have suggested restarting the design process, but Issa rejects that idea based on cost and time. “We can’t throw away 15 years,” he said. Full story

July 25, 2014

House Natural Resources Republicans Slam Ike Memorial Commission

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Gehry, David and Anne Eisenhower, and Rocco Siciliano talk after a press conference about the memorial back in March 2010. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The federal government has poured more than $65 million into creating a memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower, according to a new congressional report that alleges mismanagement by the Eisenhower Memorial Commission and slams architect Frank Gehry’s plan.

Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee, which previously backed a bill to sunset the EMC, on Friday released a report declaring the proposed memorial a “Five-Star Folly,” and detailing the many delays and unanticipated costs in the 15 years since President Bill Clinton signed off on its creation.

The 58-page document, based on an investigation launched by the committee in 2012, states that more than $16.4 million has been spent on the memorial design, and another $13.3 million on design contract management, including expenses such as parking and broadband internet for the executive architect, Daniel Feil. Additionally, citing data from the General Services Administration, the report claims almost every contract the EMC has entered into for work on the memorial has been modified multiple times, reflecting millions of dollars in additional costs. Full story

July 9, 2014

House Subcommittee Votes to Eliminate Funds for Eisenhower Memorial

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Moran thinks some more outreach on the memorial might be necessary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Funding for the Dwight D. Eisenhower memorial would be eliminated in fiscal 2015 under a bill advanced Wednesday by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Environment.

Despite broad support for building a memorial to the 34th president in the District of Columbia, even members of Congress appointed to the Eisenhower Memorial Commission acknowledge roadblocks to moving forward with architect Frank Gehry’s design.

Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., told CQ Roll Call the project is “not on track if there are not additional appropriations.” He said he remains “hopeful it will be built,” and still wants to see a memorial to the World War II hero, who grew up in Kansas. Full story

July 1, 2014

House Appropriations Investigators Probing Eisenhower Memorial Commission

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Irreconcilable differences? From left, Gehry, David and Anne Eisenhower and Rocco Siciliano of the EMC. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Appropriations Committee investigators are probing the troubled Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, a long-delayed project nearly 15 years in the making that appears to have significant fundraising problems.

In early June, the Eisenhower Memorial Commission received notice that the committee’s surveys and investigations staff had been directed to “make an inquiry on the issues relating to the proposed construction of a permanent memorial to honor Dwight D. Eisenhower,” retired Brig. Gen. Carl W. Reddel, executive director of the EMC, stated in a June 6 memo recently obtained by CQ Roll Call. Full story

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