WASHINGTON – Businessman and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein has pledged the funding needed for the National Park Service to modernize the Washington Monument elevator. The $2-3 million project will correct the elevator’s ongoing mechanical, electrical and computer issues, which have shuttered the monument since August 17.
Mr. Rubenstein said, “The monument has become a symbol of our country, and reminds everyone of the towering strengths of our first president. I am honored to help make this symbol safely accessible again to all Americans as soon as practicable.”
Rubenstein’s gift to the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks will allow the National Park Service to replace the computer system that controls the elevator and to add a remote diagnostic system, which will permit technicians to more quickly determine the cause of problems when they occur. It will also provide funds to refurbish the existing elevator machine and gear; replace existing hardware, including door operators, hoist-way ropes, compensation cables, rollers, electrical conductors, breakers and power supplies, and the elevator cab ventilation system; install audio/visual screens in the elevator cab; and install 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. “Mr. Rubenstein’s continued support for the Washington Monument will ensure generations of visitors can safely enjoy this historically significant monument for years to come.”
Rubenstein’s “patriotic philanthropy” benefitting the National Park Service makes him a leader in the incredible legacy of private support for national parks:
- January 2012 - $7.5 million to restore the Washington Monument after the earthquake
- July 2014 - $12.35 million to restore Arlington House, The Robert E. Lee Memorial
- September 2014 - $5 million endowment for the White House Visitor Center
- April 2015 - $5.37 million to improve the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial
- February 2016 - $18.5 million to restore the Lincoln Memorial
- April 2016 - $1 million to fund critical repairs to Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument
"Mr. Rubenstein's continued support carries on the legacy of private citizens who came together to establish and support our national parks," said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation. "His ongoing commitment to protect and enhance these treasured places ensures they will be accessible and preserved for all to enjoy."
The National Park Service has also requested funding in its FY 2017 President’s Budget Request to construct a permanent screening facility for the Washington Monument. The Washington Monument is expected to re-open to visitors in 2019.
For more information on the National Park Foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, please visit campaign.nationalparks.org
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More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 413 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL PARK FOUNDATION
The National Park Foundation is the official charity of America’s national parks and nonprofit partner to the National Park Service. Chartered by Congress in 1967, the National Park Foundation raises private funds to help PROTECT more than 84 million acres of national parks through critical conservation and preservation efforts, CONNECT all Americans with their incomparable natural landscapes, vibrant culture and rich history, and INSPIRE the next generation of park stewards. In 2016, commemorating the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, the Foundation launched The Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks, a $350 million comprehensive fundraising campaign to strengthen and enhance the future of these national treasures for the next hundred years. Find out more and become a part of the national park community at www.nationalparks.org.
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