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House Appropriations Subcommittee denies Eisenhower Memorial funding

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

In the latest in the long saga regarding Frank Gehry’s proposed design for the Eisenhower Memorial (more background here), yesterday the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies unveiled a draft bill that would deny the $59.8 million budgetary request by the Eisenhower Memorial Commission.

The nearly $60 million was requested by the Commission to “complete construction of the memorial,” following a FY 2012 grant of $33 million to begin construction of the memorial. As the subcommittee’s chairman Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) pointed out, the Commission still has close to $30 million left from last year’s allocation because construction of the project was delayed due to the controversy over the design.

The Huffington Post has more:

Opponents perceive the move as another blow to the 11-member commission tasked with overseeing the realization of a monument to former president and World War II hero Dwight Eisenhower.

“[It] reflects a growing public concern over this controversial project. It shows that objections to the memorial’s content, size and selection process are being heard,” said Sam Roche, a University of Miami architecture lecturer and author who is acting as a spokesman for the coalition of activists opposed to the current design.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, which has held a hearing on the project, said the decision not to further fund the commission was a sound one.

“I think it’s wise until we can get more clarity on what the memorial should be,” said Bishop, who indicated that he would recommend the Appropriations Committee withhold additional funding until “consensus” can be reached.

[…] Multiple meetings to approve the design for groundbreaking have been postponed as more stakeholders demand to see models and speak with the commissioners about the process used to select Gehry.

Earlier this month, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar requested another delay in order to have a private viewing of the design.

[…] Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.), the ranking member of the House subcommittee who has spoken out against Gehry’s concept, suggested Tuesday that the decision to withhold money would send a message.

“It’s a tight budget year and it seems to me, on something like this, you should have consensus before you commit any further money to it,” he said.

Read more about the design controversy here, and check out the remarks from our recent event on monuments (including the proposed Eisenhower Memorial) here.

AEI