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Eisenhower Memorial gets final federal approval

Eisenhower memorial

An artist’s aerial perspective of Eisenhower Square looking along Maryland Avenue SW and Independence Avenue in Washington. 

(Gehry Partners LLP )

The revised design for the planned Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington received a significant boost from the National Capital Planning Commission on Friday with a vote to approve the long-gestating project.

The design, created by Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry, has experienced a rough road in recent years, with some members of the Eisenhower family criticizing aspects of the project, including the emphasis on the 34th president’s childhood. Some members of Congress also criticized the original design.

Last year, the commission voted to reject it. A revised design for the memorial was shown to commission members in September and the revision received preliminary approval from the commission in October.

On Friday, the National Capital Planning Commission voted 9 to 1 in favor of the revised design, marking the final stage in the project’s four-year road to federal approval. The memorial site, which has been in the works since 1999, would be located close to the National Mall on a four-acre site in southwest Washington.


Some aspects of the memorial still refer to Eisenhower’s upbringing in Kansas. These aspects are “meant to honor Eisenhower’s Midwestern core values of strength, modesty, and integrity,” according to a project summary issued by the commission.

The Eisenhower Memorial still faces challenges ahead in terms of congressional funding. The project, whose price tag is estimated at $142 million, is expected to be funded by a mix of public and private dollars. But the memorial is expected to be a subject of congressional debate and it remains unclear how soon the Senate and House will get around to deciding the issue.

On Friday, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Eisenhower Memorial Commission, said in a release that “this is an important day for those of us who are committed to memorializing Dwight D. Eisenhower -- a brilliant military strategist, a visionary world leader, a man who saved Western democracy, and a proud Kansan.”

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