Once the most popular attraction in the nation’s capital, the Washington Monument has been officially off-limits for visitors since last August.
The 555-foot obelisk was heavily damaged when a rare earthquake struck the East Coast back on August 23, 2011.
In the days following the quake, large cracks were discovered near the top of the Monument and moderate to severe structural damage was later reported, leaving the attraction unsafe for visitors.
Though Congress appropriated $7.5 million for its repair, additional funding was necessary to re-open the landmark. Enter billionaire David Rubenstein.
A prominent D.C. philanthropist, Rubenstein personally pledged an additional $7.5 million to expiate the repair process. Now armed with a $15 million repair fund, the Park Service says it now expects the damages to be fixed by August 2013. Officials will also use the funds to conduct a study on how to better safeguard the Washington Monument against natural disasters in the future.
Source: ABC News
CC Flickr photo credit: Ed Schipul