Public invited to comment on plans to restore National Mall

The National Park Service is moving forward on plans to revamp the National Mall after an attempt to restore America’s front yard failed in last year’s stimulus package.

After a three-year process, the National Park Service has created a long-term draft plan to restore the National Mall’s grounds and facilities. The service will be accepting public comment on the overhaul until March 18, and has received input from roughly 30,000 people already, according to its Web site.

Changes to the National Mall, which hosts 25 million visitors annually, include upgrades to the Mall’s bathrooms, food and entertainment facilities, and a complete refurbishing of areas used heavily for protests and events, according to the proposal.

Lawmakers cut $200 million for restorations from the stimulus package last year for the Mall, which is in a state of disrepair because it has been “loved to death,” according to the Trust for the National Mall’s Web site.

Suggestions from the public include removing or shrinking the Capitol Reflecting Pool to create a civic square for demonstrations, creating a café or entertainment space in Constitution Gardens, and reengineering the reflecting pools to use a natural water source, the Associated Press reported.

After the public comment period, the National Park Service will analyze the submissions and prepare a final environmental impact statement.

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