News

Congress Moves Forward on Eisenhower Memorial

Contained within the 1,665 pages of the fiscal 2017 omnibus package Congress passed in early May was a big win for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Memorial. The package includes $45 million in federal appropriations for the memorial, which some sources indicate is the green light for work to begin at the planned site near the National Mall. Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas and former Kansas Senator Bob Dole have raised $10 million in private funds for the project so far. The memorial has been estimated to cost nearly $150 million.

Casey Ellingson

2017-05-31

Contained within the 1,665 pages of the fiscal 2017 omnibus package Congress passed in early May was a big win for the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Memorial. The package includes $45 million in federal appropriations for the memorial, which some sources indicate is the green light for work to begin at the planned site near the National Mall. Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas and former Kansas Senator Bob Dole have raised $10 million in private funds for the project so far. The memorial has been estimated to cost nearly $150 million.

The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Memorial was authorized by Congress in 1999. Since then, the memorial has been mired in controversy. Frank Gehry, an architect best-known for his work on the iconic titanium-clad Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles was chosen early on as the architect for the project.

Pressure from congress and the Eisenhower family has forced Gehry to revise the design several times. The latest iteration, which has been agreed upon by the architect and Eisenhower family, will include a contemporary depiction of the beaches of Normandy, France, the site of the D-Day landings, and Ike’s famous quote about the importance of his Kansas roots: “The proudest thing I can claim is that I am from Abilene.” Opponents to the new design, including some members of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, worry that the revisions won’t make sense to the public and the design is too expensive and flamboyant to reflect Eisenhower, who many regarded as legendarily frugal. 

The Eisenhower memorial commission currently has a solicitation open for the construction of the memorial with bids due May 26. Senator Roberts had hoped the memorial would be completed by June 6, 2019, the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France, which Eisenhower had led on D-Day. Now it appears the commission aims to break ground sometime in the fall 2017. Construction will begin when the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and the National Capital Planning Commission provide final approval.

Contact

Karen T. Grajales
Manager, Public Relations 
tel: 1-202-216-2371
ktgrajales@asla.org
@ktgrajales

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