Newspaper article Roll Call

Proposed Ike Memorial Changes Win Warm Response

Newspaper article Roll Call

Proposed Ike Memorial Changes Win Warm Response

Article excerpt

Tweaks to the design for a memorial in honor of President Dwight Eisenhower were well-received Tuesday by the 11-member commission overseeing the project.

But lingering concerns from the Eisenhower family, outside groups and Members of Congress about the design and its selection process could derail progress.

The window for reaching consensus continues to narrow in advance of a July 12 meeting between the Eisenhower Memorial Commission members and the National Capital Planning Commission, the agency that must approve the design for groundbreaking to take place.

"Time is of the essence," Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), a World War II veteran, said of building the four-acre memorial dedicated to his one-time supreme commander. "There is a national interest in making sure this monument is completed to remind the next generation of Americans what America has gone through and the great leaders we've had."

The Eisenhower Memorial Commission doesn't need outside endorsement to proceed with the design by renowned architect Frank Gehry. If Tuesday's meeting in the Dirksen Senate Office Building is any indication, all of its members are on board with the current concept, and they get the final say in whether it moves forward.

But the commission, which includes eight lawmakers, has not been receiving good publicity of late.

It has been accused of using a selection process to pick the designer that excluded less well-known architects, selecting a design that does not adequately honor Eisenhower's legacy and ignoring his relatives who dislike Gehry's design.

"One of the main flaws of the current proposal ... is that Eisenhower's contribution to this nation is not the central theme of the design," Susan Eisenhower, the president's granddaughter, has said. At one point, the centerpiece of the memorial was a statue of a young Eisenhower gazing up at bas-relief depictions of what his life would become. …

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