The Trust for the National Mall is raising money to help the National Park Service restore the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The goal is to raise $500 million to not only fix The Mall, but to redesign the areas around the mall so it is more integrated with the city on one side and the waterfront on the other. (Tell the truth; You didn't even know there was a waterfront on the other side of The Mall, did you?)
There aren't many places I like being more than I like being on The Mall. Years ago I had a job that took me to D.C. regularly to research at the old National Archives on Pennsylvania Avenue, and one of the things I liked best was wandering over to the mall just to walk. As wonderful as it is, it has always struck me as a curiously sterile place, wildly underutilized even as people fret that it may be getting too crowded. The most vibrant parts of The Mall are down at the Lincoln Memorial end, where Vietnam Vets have set up information booths between the street and the Vietnam Memorial, booths that may seem like clutter to some but add badly needed life. (And what is life, after all, if not clutter?) The Mall needs, according to me, more of that: more hot dog vendors and cafes and things around the edges that make it possible not just to be at The Mall but to stay at the mall, to linger.
The Trust for the National Mall is raising money that will be used not only to catch-up on badly needed maintenance on The Mall, but also figure out ways to make The Mall more vibrant.
I never ask you for anything, but I'm asking now: Kick-in a few bucks to fix-up our national front yard. And go visit sometime, too. It's an inspiring place.