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National Mall getting a $700 million facelift

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WTVR) – The National Mall which stretches from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol Building, will be transformed from a swath of trampled grass to a grand urban park with spectacular gardens, a skating rink and a tree-framed theater, the Trust for the National Mall said Thursday.

The Trust, which is working with the National Park Service to revitalize the Mall, unveiled the winners of a design competition to remake three sections.

The projects are part of a $700 million plan to transform the nation’s “front yard” into a world-class park.

The first project is scheduled to be done by 2016 to mark the centennial of the National Park Service.

Highlights of the three projects:

•At Union Square, a reflecting pool that morphs from fountain to hard surface to pool will accommodate different events and minimize damage to the grass. The design includes an outdoor museum of gardens extending from the U.S. Botanical Garden.

•Constitution Gardens, the park and pond north of the Lincoln Memorial’s reflecting pool, will be updated to be ecologically sustainable and to revive the “social life” of the park.

•In summer, picnickers will be able to rent toy boats to sail on the pond. In winter, the pond will become an ice rink. The design includes intimate areas for reading, picnicking and resting, and an indoor pavilion with a restaurant and terrace.

•The Sylvan Theater amphitheater, on the grassy slope around the Washington Monument, will be framed by trees offering a secluded performance setting.