- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 17, 2019

The Washington Monument will reopen to the public next month for the first time in more than three years, the U.S. National Park Service announced Friday.

Public tours of 555-foot-tall landmark will resume Sept. 19, the NPS said in a statement.

The world’s tallest building at the time of its completion in 1889, the Washington Monument was indefinitely shuttered in August 2016 due to issues with its elevator system.

Millions of dollars have since been invested in modernizing the monument’s elevator system and constructing a new security screening facility for visitors.

The monument had been previously slated to reopen this spring, but the NPS said in April that construction of the security facility had been delayed due to the presence of potentially contaminated soil in the area. The soil was found below the ground surface and poses no risk to public health, the Park Service said at the time.

Upgrades to the monument’s elevator system were made possible by a $3 million private donation pledged in 2016 from philanthropist David M. Rubenstein, the NPS said then. The funds were slated to be spent on correcting mechanical, electrical and computer issues that promoted the monument’s closure, the agency said when the donation was announced.

The screening facility was built with $7.785 million in funds appropriated from the NPS budget for fiscal year 2017, the NPS said previously.

The NPS nonetheless credited President Trump’s administration for the monument’s reopening.

“The re-opening of the Washington Monument is another example of how the Trump Administration is enhancing visitors’ experiences at national parks and public lands by better meeting critical infrastructure and maintenance needs,” the NPS said in a statement.

The Washington Monument is scheduled to be open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., said NPS. Same-day tickets will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis when it re-opens Sept. 19, though tickets will be able to be ordered online in advance starting in October.

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