The National Mall, which stretches from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol Building, will be transformed from a swath of trampled grass to a grand urban park with spectacular gardens, a skating rink and a tree-framed theater, the Trust for the National Mall said Thursday.
The Trust, which is working with the National Park Service to revitalize the Mall, unveiled the winners of a design competition to remake three sections. The projects are part of a $700 million plan to transform the nation's "front yard" into a world-class park.
Former first lady Laura Bush, the honorary chairwoman of the fundraising campaign, said she often donned sunglasses and a baseball cap for anonymous early morning strolls on the Mall during her White House years.
She said the "innovative" designs will enhance the experience for the Mall's 24 million visitors each year.
"The Mall is suffering from overuse," said landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson of Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, who helped create the winning design for Union Square, the area that includes the reflecting pool at the base of the Capitol lawn.
The first project is scheduled to be done by 2016 to mark the centennial of the National Park Service.
Highlights of the three projects:
Source: USA Today | Donna Leinwand Leger