It's common for people to grouse that they don't have a say in what happens in Washington. Well, we have some news for you. Maybe it won't change domestic or international policy, but this week you can have a say in the redesign of the National Mall.
Three areas of land on the Mall will be redeveloped in three stages: the sprawling area around the Washington Monument and Sylvan Theater, the nearby stretch of lake and gardens known as Constitution Gardens, and Union Square on Capitol Hill.
The redesign is, pardon the expression, a monumental project, and has been the singular focus of the Trust for the National Mall, a nonprofit group that has long been raising the funds needed to see the project through. The goal is $350 million. Working in conjunction with the National Park Service, the group contacted design teams, sought submissions, and organized a jury to choose finalists, and will ultimately use donated funds to help pay for the work.
This week the designs from the finalists are on display at the Smithsonian Castle and the National Museum of American History. Public opinion is welcomed at the locations from morning to evening, or online.
When the Trust sought submissions from landscape architects, it was blunt in its wording. "The National Mall has been loved to death," the organization said of the 700-acre area that runs from the steps of the Capitol to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. "Our mission is simply to make the National Mall the best park in the world."