Beginning Sept. 10, access to the lower terrace of the West Front of the U.S. Capitol will be closed for construction of the 2013 Presidential Inaugural stands, requiring lawmakers, staff and visitors to use side entrances to the building. Officials plan to fence off the area in the coming days in order to begin construction.
Access to most of the northwest lawn of the Capitol, just north of where the inaugural stand will be erected, has been limited in recent months for a separate construction project.
The presidential inauguration is scheduled for Jan. 21, one day later than normal because Jan. 20, 2013, is a Sunday. The inauguration will coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the second time that the federal holiday has coincided with an inauguration. The first time was with Bill Clinton’s second inauguration in January 1997.
Preparations for the inauguration have caused some hard feelings among residents of the District of Columbia. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who is leading the Joint Congressional Committee for Inaugural Ceremonies, announced plans this month to serve bottled water from Saratoga Spring, N.Y., a company in Schumer’s home state.
District officials protested and asked Schumer to consider serving D.C. tape water instead. This week, Schumer assured District water officials that attendees to inaugural festivities at the Capitol will be offered tap water in addition to the bottled sparkling water.
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