Reflecting pool on the National Mall to undergo reconstruction for two years
The rain did not stop tourists from visiting the National Mall Wednesday for a walk around the reflecting pool. But this week, the pool is getting drained and a fence will go up along its perimeter as part of a two-year reconstruction project.
"We should do our best to keep it reserved because it's an important place and it represents a lot," said Mary Ella Oigara of Oakland, California about "America's front yard."
The reflecting pool near the Lincoln Memorial is surrounded by war memorials and going there stirs up a lot of emotion for veterans.
"I waited a long time to come and see the World War II Memorial. It's hard," said veteran Charlie Randazzo, tearing up. "Yeah."
For years, some visitors have complained about the pool's current condition with goose droppings, trash and other debris floating around.
Jan Biederstedt of Dickinson, ND commented, "Just looking around I wasn't focused on it, until I got close up and could see the green. I was a little surprised."
The pool is also cracked and leaking. The stagnant water has to be drained and refilled several times a year. But now, it's getting a makeover featuring a re-circulating system and filtered water from the tidal basin.
"Similar to how any swimming pool operates. That's not to suggest this will become a swimming pool because it's not," said National Park Service Bill Line.
Once the pool is completely drained crews will go in and remove any debris from the bottom. They will then do an assessment of all the stones that make up the pool. This is an historic site that was built 80 years ago so crews will try to maintain and preserve all the stones they can.
Line explained, "There are likely over the last 80 years damage to these stones. As many as we can save and reuse we're going to to protect the historic nature here."
The two year reconstruction project will cost about $30 million paid for by the Recovery Act. Even skeptics of government spending support this effort.
"We think it's important to keep the national treasures here in Washington clean and neat and available for future generations," said tourist Bill O'Donnell.
In the end, officials say the pool should not look much different, but with circulating water and less of a mess it will smell a lot better.
"When we get pictures at home, you just see the reflection of the monument in the pool and you don't see the underneath things going on. You also can't smell it," said Biederstedt, laughing. "That is true. My daughter said, 'oh my goodness.'"
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