- The Washington Times - Monday, September 4, 2000

A prominent site in the center of the District of Columbia for a monument to former President Reagan will be discussed at an official hearing tomorrow despite an agreement by federal commissions that there should be no more memorials in the area.

The exception is sought in a bill introduced by Rep. Don Young, Alaska Republican. It will be taken up by the National Capital Memorial Commission. The bill, now before the House Resources Committee, would direct the commission to make an exception to the moratorium on new memorials "for a future memorial" to Mr. Reagan.

House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, Texas Republican, joined in introducing the bill.

The Memorial Commission and two others, the Fine Arts Commission and the National Capital Planning Commission, agreed last year not to approve any new memorials in an area called the Reserve. That includes the Mall the long grassy sweep from the Capitol to the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

Exceptions were made for monuments already approved, including a World War II memorial and one to Martin Luther King Jr. Plans for those two are going forward, though last month two dozen witnesses appeared at a public hearing to oppose the site and design for the war memorial.

Mr. Young's bill would order Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and his successors to pick a spot and a design for the Reagan monument, raise donations to build it and create a three-member commission to help.

Mr. Reagan, 89, left office in 1989 after serving two terms. In 1994, he published a letter addressed to the American people disclosing that he suffered from Alzheimer's disease. A major government building at the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW has been named for him and National Airport was renamed Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in his honor.

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