The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial planned for Washington may not get built so fast, or in the design selected. Some members of Congress and witnesses at a recent hearing objected to the Frank Gehry Eisenhower Memorial design selected for the site, just south of the National Mall.
The Eisenhower Memorial competition chose the noted architect’s Eisenhower Memorial design.
The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests & Public Lands conducted a hearing at which several people, including President Eisenhower’s granddaughter Susan Eisenhower, objected to the way the design and architect were chosen.
Subcommittee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) later said in a prepared statement “I remain concerned that efforts are underway to usher through (an Eisenhower monument) that we cannot afford to get wrong. The law requires consensus on this project, which has not yet been achieved. Specifically, as a memorial to Eisenhower’s profound contributions and legacy, his family should have significant input on the final outcome of the project….I am (also) concerned that the Department of Interior does not yet have an estimate for the maintenance costs that will be required by this design. Maintenance costs are something that must be considered and evaluated before this project can proceed. Given the concerns shared by so many and unanswered questions that remain, it would be my hope that this project be placed on hold until further discussions can be had about the most appropriate and responsible path forward.”
Susan Eisenhower complained about the work of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Commission. She testified “from the commission’s earliest days we have been concerned about its direction and we have spoken about it forthrightly. In the beginning, the (Eisenhower Memorial DC) was planned to be both a physical memorial and a living memorial, which was to tell the Eisenhower story and to enhance the educational and leadership development mission of a number of Eisenhower Legacy organizations. The E-Memorial, which was created by the commission, sidestepped the most important of the Eisenhower Legacy organizations, located in such states as Pennsylvania, New York and Kansas. The result has been a deterioration of the commission staff’s relationships with the Eisenhower Legacy organizations that are the largest and oldest in the community. While there have been recent attempts to heal the breach, much work remains to be done.”
Rather than take fair competitive bids for design, the commission chose Frank Gehry architect. Though the commission theoretically conducted an open competition more than three years ago, minutes of its first meeting back in 2001 state that the chairman said Frank Gehry architecture was the kind of thing it wanted for the Dwight Eisenhower Memorial.
Look at the hearing testimony and a video of it at http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=283094.