Reflecting Pool to close for repairs

D.C. residents should take a last look at the reflecting pool this month, as the site is set to close in November for about two years.

The pool will undergo a $31.6 million upgrade that entails installing a filtration system.

“[The] Reflecting Pool Project is one of the larger projects nationwide” that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 has approved, said Bill Line, a spokesman for the National Park Service. The ARRA is better known as the stimulus package.

Line said the project may take two years to complete as contractors must study the conditions of the 80-year-old stones surrounding the Reflecting Pool.

The pool will receive a filtration system, which will help keep the water clean. Currently, the pool does not have an adequate filtration system, and buildup of animal waste in the stagnant water often creates an unpleasant smell on the National Mall, especially in the summer month.

“Its features will be similar to that of a regular pool in that the water will circulate just like a regular pool, but it is not a swimming pool and is not to be swum in,” Line said.

The pathway around the pool where visitors walk – called the social trail – will be wider when the project is completed and will be made of flat stone, similar to the stones at the Jefferson Memorial.

In order to complete this part of the renovation, the site will be temporarily shut down from tourists. Line said this is for the safety of the public, because there will be heavy machinery in use and therefore it won’t be safe around the construction site.

Gregory Welsh of Cumming, Ga., said he visited the Reflecting Pool during the Vietnam War for a rally and also in 1984 for a Beach Boys concert.

Though visitors aren’t allowed to enter the pool, Welsh remembered some people dipping their feet in during the concert. He said the upcoming renovations would make the pool look pretty and healthier.

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