The Washington Post

New Mall turf survived the inaugural and, at $16 million, the government wants it to last

The Trust for the National Mall said this week that the freshly restored turf on the Mall near the Capitol survived the inauguration, and Thursday the federal government issued a special order to try to keep it that way.

The new turf, roughly between Third and Seventh streets NW, and related upgrades cost about $16 million and had to be protected with special plastic panels to shield it from the feet of thousands of inauguration goers.

The presidential inaugural committee, which had control of most of the new area, paid to have the entire area protected, after the Congressional inaugural committee said it had no money to pay for protection in the sector it controlled, the trust said.

Teresa Durkin, landscape architect for the trust, said the cold weather and the pressure from the panels might affect the new grass temporarily. But it will rebound, she said. “It’ll all be fine,” she said.

The National Park Service said it plans to replace turf on the Mall between 7th and 14th soon.

Meanwhile, outgoing Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued a Secretarial Order Thursday to help ensure that the Mall’s grass and general environs remain healthy in years to come.

It directs the park service to proceed with its plans to upgrade and maintain the Mall in face of the expected increase in annual visitors from 25 million to 42 million over the next 20 years.

Mike is a general assignment reporter who also covers Washington institutions and historical topics.

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