Washington Monument to stay closed until 2019

The D.C. landmark will remain closed for repairs until at least 2019. USA TODAY

Businessman and philanthropist David Rubenstein has agreed to donate $2 to $3 million to renovate the Washington Monument’s elevator, but the D.C. landmark will remain closed at least until 2019.

Rubenstein’s gift will allow the National Park Service to modernize the monument’s elevator by replacing its computer system and adding diagnostic technology to better monitor and repair its problems. The gift will also improve the mechanical hardware of the existing system.

Rubenstein had already donated $7.5 million to repair the monument after a 2011 earthquake left it damaged and cracked. The monument was open for two years after the earthquake repairs were finished before closing again on Aug. 17 due to ongoing issues with its elevator.

“Mr. Rubenstein’s continued support for the Washington Monument will ensure generations of visitors can safely enjoy this historically significant monument for years to come,” Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a press release.

There is no start date for the project, The Washington Post reported, because the park service wants to fund and and construct a new security screening entrance at the same time. The park service has requested federal funds for that project as a part of the next fiscal year’s budget.

D.C.’s Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a statement that she will urge Congress to include the project in its continuing resolution that will likely fund the government into next spring so that the park service can save both time and money by working on both projects at the same time.

Earlier this year, Rubenstein, co-founder of the private equity firm the Carlyle Group, also donated $18.5 million for restorations to the Lincoln Memorial and $5.37 million last year for the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial.

Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation said in a press release that Rubenstein “carries on the legacy of private citizens who came together to establish and support our national parks.”

Follow Ryan Miller on Twitter @MILLERdfillmore

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