National Mall overhaul gets jumpstart with $10 million gift from VW

Posted at 5:35 PM, May 02, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-03 00:36:08-04

There are plans to overhaul Washington’s National Mall, with assistance from a German carmaker.

Volkswagen of America will invest $10-million dollars toward a restoration project. The donation will be spread over a period of five years, and is intended to jumpstart fundraising for the nonprofit that manages the park.

The group hopes to raise at least $350 million to preserve and restore the mall. WTOP reports that  soon the group will select a finalist from two proposed projects, for a plant to be completed by 2016.

The organization will decide whether the money will go toward the Washington Monument grounds, with a new amphitheater and performance canopy, or toward an overhaul of the constitution gardens near the Lincoln Memorial.

A decision will be made in June.

The National Mall is considered the nation’s most visited park, with ith about 25-million people visiting each year.

Volkswagen of America CEO Jonathan Browning told WTOP that he was shocked the nation’s park in such poor shape.

“As somebody who’s relatively new to Washington, D.C., the impression the National Mall had on me when I first arrived was very strong,” he said to WTOP. “When you think it’s the site of the transfer of power between presidents, when you think of the right to free speech and to demonstrate, but also the right to kind of socialize and enjoy yourself, the mall, to me, is an incredible microcosm of what U.S. life represents.”

For more on this story, please click over to WTOP.