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Posts in "Eisenhower Memorial"
July 25, 2014
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
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 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
April 7, 2014
Members of Congress past and present ventured into the National Capital Planning Commission’s headquarters last week to weigh in on the long-delayed Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial project.
Former Rep. Leonard Boswell came from Iowa to encourage planners to move forward. The 80-year-old Democrat and Army veteran said he would like to see the memorial done before he dies, and called the project a “great tribute to veterans.”
Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill., also ventured downtown for the NCPC’s first formal action on architect Frank Gehry’s design. Schock believes the park, which is to be framed by large metal tapestries at the intersection of Maryland and Independence avenues Southwest, is not consistent with other D.C. memorials. He said it resembles “a 4-acre theme park without a coherent theme,” and urged the Eisenhower Memorial Commission to restart the design process. Full story
March 31, 2014
Dwight D. Eisenhower’s hometown is encouraging the stakeholders in his Washington, D.C., memorial to move forward with architect Frank Gehry’s contentious design.
The City Commission of Abilene, Kan., passed a resolution in March pushing the Eisenhower Memorial Commission and others with oversight over the project, now 15 years in the making, to “take such actions as may be prudent and necessary to facilitate the construction.”
Unfortunately for Abilene — the World War II hero’s final resting place and the site of his presidential library — the EMC must clear huge financial and bureaucratic obstacles before any building can begin on the 4-acre site just off the National Mall in Southwest D.C.
The estimated price tag for the project, between project costs and operational costs, stands at $143.9 million, according to the EMC’s fiscal 2015 budget request. After the fiscal 2014 spending plan zeroed out construction funding and halved the EMC’s operating budget, the commission is requesting $19.3 million for construction and $2 million for commission operations. The EMC claims those resources, plus previously allocated funds, would be sufficient to complete the first phase of the memorial’s construction.
To dedicate the memorial in 2017, the commission has announced a private fundraising goal of $35 million. In January, appropriators asked the EMC to give an update on those efforts. So far, it has secured roughly $1.7 million in gifts and pledges, with approximately $3 million in outstanding asks and proposals.
Fundraisers have reached out to roughly 200 individual prospects, focusing on securing major gifts from donors in Georgia, Kansas and California. Between these three states, fundraisers have “built a pipeline of prospects with a giving capacity estimated at over $15,000,000,” the fiscal 2015 budget request states.
Achieving shovel-ready status also requires the EMC to secure approval for Gehry’s design from various federal agencies. The U.S. Commission of Fine Arts has given its preliminary approval, and continues to recommend changes necessary for final approval. The National Capital Planning Commission has so far declined to give preliminary approval, but the EMC is on the agenda for its April 3 meeting.
Though the Eisenhower family has been critical of the design, especially depictions of the president’s Kansas boyhood, the leaders of Abilene approve. Their resolution notes that the design would highlight “all phases” of Ike’s life.
Abilene Mayor John F. Ray said the city was happy that the memorial honored Eisenhower’s roots.
“One of the proudest things we can say is that Ike called Abilene home,” he said in a statement circulated by the EMC.
Abilene City Manager David B. Dillner said the city appreciates the importance of its “favorite son” to the nation. ”As the memorial moves forward, and after its completion, we will continue to be a partner in promoting Eisenhower to the world.”