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Mount Rushmore Getting $14M Renovation

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

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The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is finally getting a $14 million upgrade—work that has been deferred for the last six years. While public amenities are among the items to be renovated, the likenesses of the U.S. presidents will remain untouched.

According to the Rapid City Journal, the biggest challenge will be streamlining the Avenue of Flags, which includes widening the terrace and moving the flags to the side.

Updating Rushmore

Currently, flags representing the states line the walkway of the avenue; however, not every state's commemorative plaque is wheelchair accessible. Once the work is completed, the flags will be mounted on concrete structures along the sides, which will retain the same state information and open up accessibility.

Cedar-Guardian, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Mount Rushmore National Memorial is finally getting a $14 million upgrade—work that has been deferred for the last six years. While public amenities are among the items to be renovated, the likenesses of the U.S. presidents are to remain untouched.

The adjustment will also help create a safer exit point for crowds, especially those in the amphitheater, which can seat 2,500 to 3,000.

Other changes are slated to include the installation of a restroom and elevator in Gutzon Borglum's 1938 studio, as well as restoring its double-sided fireplace. (Borglum was responsible for sculpting Mount Rushmore; work on the monument began in 1927.)

“Visitor center installation includes roof replacement, an enhanced waterproofing system and new stairwells,” the National Park Services notes on Mount Rushmore’s website. “Interior visitor center work consists of new elevators, upgraded plumbing, and improved heating, ventilating and cooling systems.”

Degrading granite pavers on the terrace will also be replaced with decorative concrete. Ramps near parking lots will also be brought up to Americans With Disabilities Act standards. Additionally, even though some areas will be closed during renovations, which includes the grand terrace, other spaces, such as the Avenue of Flags, bookstore, cafeteria and visitor's center, will remain open.

While renovations are being funded by Congress, the nonprofit Mount Rushmore Society is also working to raise money to update the videos for the amphitheater and visitor center.

All projects are slated for completion by May 2020.


Tagged categories: Government; Historic Structures; Monuments; Renovation

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