- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 11, 2017

A proposal being considered by federal park officials would ban recreational activities near the Washington Monument and drastically hike the cost of renting athletic fields on the National Mall.

The National Park Service announced plans Thursday to permanently prohibit sport and recreation from the Washington Monument’s grounds once they reopen after ongoing turf restoration. The monument grounds are often enjoyed by locals playing pickup ball games.

The Washington Monument itself is currently closed to the public until 2019 in connection with the construction of a new security screening center and modernized elevators, with the area around it also off limits until sometime next year.

The monument’s grounds could “remain closed after the project is completed in 2018,” NPS spokesman Mike Litterst told WTOP.

“With the completion of the turf restoration of the National Mall we’ve been working to maximize our athletic field space in non-memorial/monument areas of the park,” Mr. Litterst added.

Prohibiting sports on the Washington Monument’s grounds is one of a pair of potential proposals announced by park officials Thursday. Additionally the National Park Service is considering raising reservation fees for the 28 athletic fields located on the National Mall and nearby Rock Creek Park.

The proposed price increase would raise fees “from the previous flat fees based solely on administrative costs of processing (in some cases as little as $7 per season) to an hourly rate that will provide revenue for upkeep and management of the fields,” Mr. Litterst told The Washington Post.

If the plan is adopted, the cost of renting an athletic field on the Mall would jump from as low as $7 a season to $70 for each two-hour block.

The National Park Service plans to hold a public comment period beginning next week before potentially pursuing either proposal.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide