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Secretary Salazar Announces $750 Million Investment to Restore and Protect America’s National Parks, Create Jobs

4/22/2009

Washington, D.C. – From the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall to Yellowstone and Death Valley, the National Park Service will undertake more than 750 projects at parks across the country to create jobs, restore and protect our nation’s parks, and preserve our history and heritage for future generations, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced today.

 

The projects reflect an investment of $750 million in our national park system (including $15 million at historically black colleges and universities) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, part of more than $3 billion the Interior Department is investing in the nation’s economy under President Obama’s recovery plan.

 

“From the Civil War to the Great Depression, America’s best ideas for protecting our national parks and open spaces have often come when our nation has faced its greatest challenges,” said Secretary Salazar.  “Today, by investing $750 million to restore and protect America’s most special places, we are creating a new legacy of stewardship for our national park system while helping our economy stand up again.  These projects - at places like Ellis Island in New York and Dinosaur National Monument in Utah – are ready to go and will create jobs in communities across the country.”

 

The National Park Service’s Recovery Act projects will benefit both large parks such as Yellowstone, where more than $9 million will be spent to completely overhaul an antiquated waste water treatment facility, and smaller parks such as Perry's Victory and International and Peace Memorial in Ohio, where $7 million will be spent in the first phase of renovating the 352-foot monument that commemorates Oliver Hazard Perry’s naval victory during the War of 1812.

 

All the projects announced today are long-standing priorities of the National Park Service based on its capital planning process. With an array of projects identified by stakeholders as critical, the service worked through a rigorous merit-based process to identify investments that met the criteria put forth in the Recovery Act:  namely, that a project addresses the Department’s highest priority mission needs; generates the largest number of jobs in the shortest period of time; and creates lasting value for the American public.

 

Other projects being undertaken include:

 

  • $8.8 million to stabilize the Ellis Island Baggage and Dormitory Building, one of the most significant structures at Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island in New York and New Jersey.

 

  • $13.1 million to demolish and replace condemned portions of the Quarry Visitor Center at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.

 

  • $54.7 million to undertake six mitigation projects to prepare for the removal of the Elwha Dam and restoration of the Elwha River basin at Olympic National Park in Washington.

 

  • $11.5 million to replace more than 5 miles of water lines at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado.

 

  • $5.5 million to rehabilitate Independence Hall Tower at Independence National Historical Park in Pennsylvania.

 

  • $2.37 million to reclaim abandoned mine lands and restore the natural landscape at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado.

 

  • $304,000 to install gates and protect visitors at Greenwater Valley at Death Valley National Park in California.

 

  • $585,000 to rehabilitate historic bridle trails at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C.

 

  • $5 million to replace the roof of the historic Old Courthouse at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in Missouri.

 

  • $30.5 million to repair the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and $7.3 million to restore the District of Columbia War Memorial at the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C.

 

For a full list of the projects, go to the Department’s Recovery Web Site at www.interior.gov/recovery.

 

Secretary Salazar has pledged unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability in the implementation of the Department of the Interior’s economic recovery projects.  The public will be able to follow the progress of each project on the recovery web site and at www.interior.gov/recovery.  The website includes an interactive map that enables the public also to follow where and how the department’s recovery dollars are being spent.


 

 

Secretary Salazar also has appointed a Senior Advisor for Economic Recovery, Chris Henderson, and an Interior Economic Recovery Task Force.  Henderson and the Task Force will work closely with the Department of the Interior’s Inspector General to ensure that the recovery program is meeting the high standards for accountability, responsibility, and transparency that President Obama has set.

Hugh Vickery