Phi­lan­thropist to fund Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment re­pairs

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - BY RYAN M. MCDER­MOTT

The Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment’s much­ma­ligned and oft-in­op­er­a­ble el­e­va­tor will be over­hauled in the com­ing years af­ter lo­cal phi­lan­thropist David Ruben­stein pledged mil­lions to fund its re­pairs.

The el­e­va­tor, which has long been plagued with is­sues, was shut­tered in Au­gust af­ter re­peated break­downs in the pre­vi­ous months. The project will cost $2 mil­lion to $3 mil­lion to cor­rect on­go­ing me­chan­i­cal, elec­tri­cal and com­puter is­sues.

“The mon­u­ment has be­come a sym­bol of our coun­try, and re­minds ev­ery­one of the tow­er­ing strengths of our first pres­i­dent,” Mr. Ruben­stein said in a state­ment Fri­day. “I am hon­ored to help make this sym­bol safely ac­ces­si­ble again to all Amer­i­cans as soon as prac­ti­ca­ble.”

This isn’t the first time Mr. Ruben­stein has dipped into his own pock­ets to re­pair the mon­u­ment. The 555-foot­tall mar­ble obelisk was badly dam­aged dur­ing a 5.8-mag­ni­tude earth­quake in 2011 with stones from the struc­ture com­ing loose. Mr. Ruben­stein funded half of the $15 mil­lion needed to re­pair the mon­u­ment af­ter the earth­quake.

The fixes in­clude re­plac­ing the com­puter sys­tem that con­trols the el­e­va­tor and ad­ding a re­mote di­ag­nos­tic sys­tem, which the Na­tional Park Ser­vice says will per­mit tech­ni­cians to more quickly de­ter­mine the cause of prob­lems when they oc­cur.

The money will also go to re­fur­bish­ing the el­e­va­tors ma­chine and gear as well as in­stalling au­dio/visual screens in the el­e­va­tor cab and in­stalling code com­pli­ant land­ings ev­ery 30 feet in the el­e­va­tor shaft.

“The Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment is one of our na­tion’s most iconic struc­tures. It is one of many mon­u­ments in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., that is im­por­tant in telling the story of Amer­ica’s rich and di­verse his­tory,” said Jonathan B. Jarvis, di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Park Ser­vice.

All told, Mr. Ruben­stein has do­nated about $50 mil­lion to NPS restora­tions projects in­clud­ing $18.5 mil­lion this year for the Lin­coln Me­mo­rial and $5.37 mil­lion to im­prove the U.S. Marine Corps War Me­mo­rial.

The Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment is ex­pected to re­open to vis­i­tors in 2019.

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