tv [untitled] March 31, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm EDT
down the row. five minutes each. if you're prepared, we would love to hear from you. >> mr. chairman and members of the subcommittee, i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the dwight d. eisenhower memorial. in 199 9 congress authorized the dwight d. eisenhower memorial commission to consider a memorial to our 34th president. that commission is comprised of 12 commissioners, including eight members of congress and previously a member of the eisenhower family. as a result of this commission's work in 2002, congress authorized the commission to establish the eisenhower memorial. since that time the national park service has worked closely with the commission to establish the memorial in accordance with both the authorizing legislation and the co-member rative works act. in our experience, the subjects of memorials can provoke strong
emotional responses because while many may agree on the value of commemorating a particular person or event, they may not all agree on the form that commemoration should take. the direction provided by the congress and the co-member mmem works act. federal agencies in determining the location and design of memorials. in the case of the eisenhower memorial, these federal agencies are the national park service on behalf of the department of the interior, the national capital planning commission and the commission on fine arts. the process is a rigorous and sometimes lengthy public process which can require multiple consultations on the selection of a site and on the design of a commemorative work as the design concept undergoes refinement as well as extensive environmental and historic preservation compliance. the national park service works
closely with sponsors. ultimately, a memorial will be construct the only if approved by these three entities and the memorial sponsor has met qualifications imposed by commemorative works act for the issue answer of a national park service permit to begin construction. in 2006 the commission was authorized to locate the memorial at maryland and independence avenues southwest between fourth and sixth streets. a national park service environmental assessment with public involvement was released in june of 2006. reviewed by the national capital advisory commission, selection of this site was approved by the commission on fine arts and the national planning commission in september of 2006. the national park service has continuously facilitated the work of the eisenhower memorial commission to develop the design
in response to input received during the public review and approval processes. and has worked diligently on environmental and historic preservation compliance documentation. the eisenhower memorial commission is responsible for the design and addressing any concerns regarding the design from all sources which includes the public and members of the eisenhower family. in september 2011 the national capital memorial advisory commission was consulted on the design and commission on fine arts granted conceptual approval for overall configuration of the memorial. also the national park service released a second environmental assessment for public review on environmental effects of the design. the national park service executed a memorandum of agreement under the national historic preservation act regarding treatment of historic properties affected by memorial with the eisenhower commission,
the national capital, planning commission, general services administration, the d.c. state historic preservation office and advisory commission on historic preservation. on march 6 of 2012 the national park service issued finding of no significant impact which is a determination that the memorial completed as -- of the current schematic design will have -- will not have a significant impact on the environment. t the national park service and the eisenhower memorial commission would seek preliminary design approval. on march 14th the eisenhower memorial commission asked this be deferred in response to recent concerns about the design. the national park service is honored to play a role in establishment of commemorative works in our nation's capital.
the process as directed by congress has worked very well and we expect that the eisenhower memorial will ultimately be a source of pride for our entire nation. mr. chairman, this concludes my statements. i would be pleased to respond to any questions you or any other members of the subcommittee may have. >> thank you. i appreciate it. mr. weitzel -- well, you just spoke. thank you. mr. gern from the gsa, pleased to have you here. >> i can give him another chance. good morning, chairman bishop, ranking chairman, and thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the dwight d. eisenhower memorial. we're proud to play a part in creating a memorial to dwight d. eisenhower. his years of noble commitment to our country should be a source of inspiration to the american people. the commission was tasked with creating an appropriate permanent memorial to per pet rate his memory and his contributions to the united states.
gsa has assisted the commission with issues relating to the acquisition of office space, human resource support, financial and accounting services, legal and contracting support and our role expanded as the commission's vision became clearer. given our experience and expertise, the commission asked gsa to help select the design firm and construction contractor for the memorial. although the requequestion of t commission we selected a design firm. this competitive and streamlined process seeks so select the most qualified designers to support federal design commissions. we seek to contract with the nation's most talented architects, landscape architects and engineers to design projects with outstanding quality and value. as part of this process, gsa utilizes the expertise of private sector peers to assist in the evaluation of proposals and design firms ensuring we benefit from the knowledge of a wide variety of individuals.
at their request, gsa worked with the commission to develop a highly qualified ae evaluation board of 11 members from the commission, gsa, the eisenhower family as well as private sector peers in a variety of design and architectural areas. the board used three-stage process to make its selection. this included evaluating the past work of firms submitting proposals, then developing a short list of firms to be invited for interviews and finally reviewing proposals of detailed design visions. in august 2008 gsa issued a request for qualifications open to all design firms to submit portfolios of their work. there were 44 responses to this request. the panel convened, reviewed the submissions and selected seven highly qualified firms based on the evaluation criteria outlined in the rfq. seven firms were interviewed. from these interviews, the panel chose four firms to submit design visions.
these four firms were crook architects, gary partners llp, rogers marvels architects and pwp landscape architecture. all four firms were asked to submit a design vision, based on site and urban context. memb a competition adviser. the written report of findings and recommendations were submitted by the jury to the ae evaluation board. the ae evaluation board review the yir's findings as well as design vision concepts. they recommended the selection of gary partners as architect for eisenhower memorial. a contract was pursued and design began in january 2010 and is currently in process. it is worth noting approval for memorial of this importance in
such a prominent location is a deliberate process that engages a variety of consulting bodies. any proposal monument or memorial to be on federally owned land in district of columbia must undergo rigorous review process. as an agent of the emc, gsa's role was to administer the process to select highly qualified design firm. the concept has gone through a series of review processes of several federal and local agencies and commissions which included the opportunity for public review and comment. in addition to providing staff and support services on a reimbursable basis, in administering the selection of a design firm for memorial, gsa is involved in a few other ongoing activities of the commission. for example, the commission requested our assistance in administering construction contract. we are also working in partnership with the national park service to provide a portion of the land that will eventually house the memorial itself. we have been and continue to
stand by to assist with other issue as they may arrive and project moves forward. in conclusion, gsa is proud of our efforts to assist commission in memorializing president eisenhower, whether through staff and support services, administering design and construction contracts or providing land upon which to build, gsa looks forward to assisting and bringing this project to fruition. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today and i welcome any questions you might have. >> thank you. i appreciate that. executive director of the commission. once again for five minutes if possible, thank you. >> chairman bishop, ranking member, members of the subcommittee, thank you for inviting me to be here today. before i begin my testimony i would like to point out the presence of three technical experts in the hearing room. doctor of library of congress an expert on eisenhower and
co-editor of the eisenhower papers, professor steiner of washington college, an expert on the presidency and historic preservation and executive architect for questions with regard to the commission's lee say zon with gsa, which you just heard about on contract design and construction of the memor l memorial. it is a prif to be here for a number of reasons. formally of the united states air force, now executive directeder of eisenhower memorial commission, i would like to introduce three commissioners with us today, commissioner boss well who you just heard from, member of the house, of course, commissioners alfred seated behind me and susan banz harris appointed by the president. senator pat robert, senator jack reed, senator jerry moran, representative thornburgh, representative mike simpson and representative sanford bishop, our chairman is rocco. ien the purpose of this hearing
is to discuss the eisenhower memori memorial. while some may be here to express a design point of view, which may be legitimately different from the commission's viewpoint, i'm here to answer your questions about the memorization process to the best of my ability and demonstrate what proposed memorial is and is not. in my extended statement for the record, you'll see how we've worked with congress and numerous government agencies such as the national park service gsa, ncpc, commission of fine arts, district of columbia and many others. since passage of legislation establishing the commission, the memorial designer has been bound by law to memorialize both 34th president of the united states and supreme commander of allied forces in world war ii. i would like to show you four images on the screen in front of you. central focal points of the memorial represented by the two
dominant scum toural elements, monumental stone blocks with realistic bar images. the first image which you see is a photo taken on the eve of d-day when general eisenhower went to speak to 101st airborne. president eisenhower later chose to send them to little rock, arkansas, to force desegregation of schools. the second stone bar relief image which you see here comes from the port rat taken by use of kampb called elder statesman which shows president eisenhower with his hand on the globe. in represents his position as most international of all presidents and how he provideded over the assent of the united states into becoming a global power. these images are the leading contenders, not necessarily
final selections, which will be made by our 1 member congressional commission and must be approved by commission of fine arts and national capital planning commission. in the center on or near a lower wall will stand the eisenhower sculpture, which you see here. it's in a small circle. i'm not sure you can see that. we will attempt to point it out -- the screen doesn't pick it up. i apologize for that. this sculpture is yet to be determined in terms of eisenhower's depiction and age. franc gary addresses this in his letter for the record to the chairman and ranking member. it has never been a barefoot boy. that term comes from eisenhower's own words in abilene, kansas, in 1945 when he began his speech with this sentence, and i quote, because no man is really a man who has lost out of himself all of the boy. i want to speak first of the
dreams of a barefoot boy, end of quote. the designer's vision is that a young eisenhower will be looking out at what he is to become, a great general and a great president. these heroic images of eisenhower will be framed as you see here by three transparent 65-foot tall stainless steel tapestry demrikting plains of kansas, artistically rendered as you see here. this will be the only national presidential memorial placed in a very difficult urban park setting, but this is a superb site surrounded by institutions directly related to eisenhower's presidency and will be directly accessible to millions of visitors. how did we get here? as former professor and head of department of history at the united states air force academy, i've come to believe that over the 11 years the commission has been working on this memorial, public interest and support for
the memorialization that the commission has enjoyed is based on the increasing public and professional knowledge of the depth, breadth and diversity of the eisenhower legacy. my personal interest and professional involvement with the eisenhower legacy go back to my service in the united states air force from the beginning of the commission's work in 2001 we have been directly involved with the best possible expertise on eisenhower such as scholars at john hopkins university who carried out publication of 21 volumes of papers of eisenhower. one of those editors is with us today. my colleagues and i are a small staff of eight people. we partner with general services administration to accomplish much of our work. we've been transparent and legally bound by federal law. in the design process over the past two years, we've been the subject of 23 public review meetings listed in my statement for the record, open to all constituencies and members of the public as a result of which
we've incorporate rated a wide range of design suggestions and imputs. this meeting today will be number 24 over the past two years, averaging one a month. this careful deliberative process has been under way for each phase of our work during the past 11 years, a matter you can judge for yourself by reading the online version of the minutes of our 15 commission meeting that we've held. when the commission began its work -- >> general, can i ask you to quickly sum up? your red light is showing. >> thank you very much. we have benefitted from the eisenhower family participation in our 15 commission meetings over the years, especially from david eisenhower as a commissioner for more than ten, his family insights, scholarly historical knowledge and contributions to the evolving design process were important. since david resigned his
position in december of 2011 one of our commissioners from kansas, pat roberts as a member of the commission's executive committee has engaged in conversations with susan and ann eisenhower to help ensure completening of their views and explore creative ways to respond positively to their concerns. we encourage and support senator rob irts and his efforts and senator -- or congressman boss well, also a member of that executive committee. may i close by complementeding you by bringing an attention very important to our country. general and president eisenhower was of immense importance from the 20th to 21st century. now at the beginning of the 21st century we're asking ourselves how do we bring it to ourselves and founding process promises to secure liberty and freedom for all. the proposed national eisenhower memorial should be part of the answer for all of the young and the old who will visit the site. thank you. >> thank you.
mr. howard significantermark. >> thank you. member of the subcommittee, ladies and gentlemen. my name is howard segermark, i'm not an architect or an artist. i worked on capitol hill here for a staffer -- as a staffer for republican and democratic members and i'm a founder and past chairman of the national civic arts society. a nonprofit organization dedicated to education about traditional and classical education and art, those traditions founding fathers believed embodied principles of a democratic republic. want to thank the board and members of the ncs for research and advice on this testimony and our current chairman and secretary. mr. chairman, our monuments are of central importance to our national identity and historical memory. croes is nothing new in the history of presidential
memorials. indeed, it is embroiled in every single one. to mention the most recent example, took three separate competitions to settle on the final design for fdr memorial. the first design was rejected because the roosevelt family objected to it. why is this controversy occurring only now, relatively late in the planning process? the reason is simple. the entire process has flown under the radar with little public and little congressional attention as possible. edward finer, former chief architect for general services administration who was involved in the eisenhower design memorial guidelines said, quote, it's amazing what you can do when no one is looking. we began to look. the more we unearthed several disturbing findings. given limitations of time i can mention just a few but i encourage subcommittee to follow up on some of these matters
perform first, designer selection process. according to the minutes of the very first meeting of the commission back in 2001 chairman specifically mentioned franc gearry as the sort of architect the commission should consider. minutes from the 2006 meeting state, he had had that conversation are architect gearry. he also had had a professional relationship with him on three prior indications. it appears in 2008 the commission designated daniel file, executive architect as agent to oversee and direct the competition -- design competition. he chose to run the competition under the guidelines of gsa's design excellence program, a program that was never intended to be used for memorial competitions. basically limits the candidates. in this instance to only 44 hand-picked firms.
thus the use of the design excellence program for memorial made it impossible to see unknown and untested talent such as mia lynn. in 1990 initial competition for world war ii memorial was run according to the design excellence program. there was a public outcry about the design and it was changed. adding to our concern, when they release the minutes from their meeting it did not publish minutes from meetings in 2008. at which the competition was discussed. stranger still there does not appear to have been a quorum at those crucial meetings. what exactly is in those missing minutes and why has the commission never released material submitted by competition entrance? the commission's competition cost $2 million and resulted in a colossal design estimated to cost $119 million and that doesn't include the unusually
maintenance that the tangle steel screens will require forever. assuming the new technology actually lasts. indeed, protected maintenance costs have not been released, if they have even been calculated. in the spring of 2011, the national civic arts society together with the institute for classical architecture in art held an eisenhower memorial countercompetition, open to all to suggest what a traditional dignified alternative might look like. with a budget of under $3,000 we received over 40 entries. we announced the astronomical first prize of $1,000 and $500 for runner up. i would show these are not just superior in beauty but more comprehensivible than mr. gearry's confused design. they're harmonious with the plan of the city and estimated costs are far more unreasonable though ncs does not advocate any specific design. the gsa has a reputation of protecting the taxpayer and park service has a history of maintaining our national heritage but on occasion
circumstances can conspire to produce a real mess. this seems to be one of those instances. congress can act to clean it up. eisenhower deserves it. one remedy is simple, a new competition. one that is open to an unknown architect from, say, abilene as it is to a starkatect. i stand ready to answer any questions. >> thank you. mr. cook, president of the national monuments foundation. once again, for five minutes. the timer is there. >> chairman bishop, i'm honored to be here to share with you my opinions based on 30 years of experience within the traditional architecture world. creates self sustaining landmarks of national, historical and aesthetic real advance with focus on interactive technology in order to teach younger americans in their language. we make history cool.
we are among few private organizations that design, build, own, operate and maintain civic assets. headquartersed in georgia history mu ee yum, a 100 foot. this $21 million ensemble is set in four acre lakeside park in mid town atlanta and equipped with high tech interactive theater. i was asked by civic arts society to judge alternative competition for eisenhower memorial. i declined their invitation indicating i thought it my patriotic duty to enter the competition instead and did so with mr. franc. it was my conclusion he has a distinctive inuz with greatness, afraid to leave something else and suck couples to narrative literalisms. professor lewis says, great
monuments are simple lucid and say only one thing. we honor, we celebrate, we grieve. i would like to disclose i'm board of architecture art. michael franc and i were among winners. as a result of this issue, should there be another competition, i will not enter it. in a city that is overflowing with green shortstop scapes and parks this provides one of the most urban circumstances to provide washington her principle successful civic square as called for by the mcmillin plan. a theater for the automobile which is how mr. gary describes his design will continue the exodus of inhabitants as soon as they are allowed to leave their workplaces. a design must conform with 1791 la font and mcmillin plans. the fundamental zoning codes for the city and monumental corps. no subsequent zoning plan put
together any agency has ever replaced them. the gary plan having gone through the gsa design excellence program has attempted to compromise this rule. the memorial commission and gary intend to redefine what it means to build a memorial, far exceeding congressional mandate. to me this is the most important part in this hearing. we have an accepted rule and either we stick to it or throw it out. if you go this new direction we might as well tear down the lincoln memorial and put a log cabin there. monuments should be built from materials that last centuries. mr. gary does not typically spec this type of material. it's my understanding the gigantic fence is larger than the hollywood sign. in urban environments acid rain, bird droppings and air quality will disintegrate this feature
and cause security problems for pedestrians below. the only positive thing i can say about it is most likely very few people would go there. so there is less chance a piece of kansas would fall on someone's head. trash collects in public spaces. the wind blows and visitors are careless. gusts will blow standard city trash all over the 600 foot long fence. we have to clean our millennium gate park every day. and the cost to clean this simple place is expensive. the cost to clean the structure every day will be more expensive. though eisenhower belongs to all of us, he truly belongs to the eisenhower family and their opposition must be honored. generations of this family have continued to serve our country and we owe them respect as much for that service as we do for their heritage. i end with a paraphrase much the
general's letter. our landings have failed. the troops, the air and the navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. if any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone. this is the character of the man we are attempting to honor. we must get this right. the current design is heroism. please call for a new and open competition. >> thank you mr. cook. our final testimony will be given by mr. cole, past chairman of the neh. if you can pull the microphone right to you, that would make it easier to hear. >> thank you very much. thank you for asking me to testimony today. i'm a senior fellow at hudson institute and board of