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National parks get $750 million for projects

U.S. national parks will receive $750 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced April 22.

From the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall to Yellowstone and Death Valley, the National Park Service will undertake more than 750 projects to restore and protect the parks for future generations.

Old Courthouse at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in MissouriThe funds are part of more than $3 billion the Department of the Interior is investing in the nation’s economy under President Obama’s recovery plan.

“From the Civil War to the Great Depression, America’s best ideas for protecting our national parks and open spaces have often come when our nation has faced its greatest challenges,” said Ken Salazar, secretary of the Interior.

The projects -- at places like Ellis Island in New York and Dinosaur National Monument in Utah -- are ready to go and will create jobs in communities across the country, Salazar said.

At Yellowstone, more than $9 million will be spent to overhaul an antiquated waste water treatment facility. At smaller parks, such as Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial in Ohio, $7 million will be spent in the first phase of renovating the 352-foot monument that commemorates Oliver Hazard Perry’s naval victory during the War of 1812.

All of the projects are long-standing priorities of the National Park Service based on its capital planning process. The NPS used a merit-based process to identify investments that met the criteria of the Recovery Act: namely, that a project addresses the Department’s highest priority mission needs; generates the largest number of jobs in the shortest period of time; and creates lasting value for the American public.

Other projects being undertaken include:

  • $8.8 million to stabilize the Ellis Island Baggage and Dormitory Building, one of the most significant structures at Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island in New York and New Jersey. 
  • $13.1 million to demolish and replace condemned portions of the Quarry Visitor Center at Dinosaur National Monument in Utah.
  • $54.7 million to undertake six mitigation projects to prepare for the removal of the Elwha Dam and restoration of the Elwha River basin at Olympic National Park in Washington.
  • $11.5 million to replace more than five miles of water lines at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. 
  • $5.5 million to rehabilitate Independence Hall Tower at Independence National Historical Park in Pennsylvania. 
  • $2.37 million to reclaim abandoned mine lands and restore the natural landscape at Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve in Colorado. 
  • $304,000 to install gates and protect visitors at Greenwater Valley at Death Valley National Park in California. 
  • $585,000 to rehabilitate historic bridle trails at Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. 
  • $5 million to replace the roof of the historic Old Courthouse at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in Missouri. 
  • $30.5 million to repair the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and $7.3 million to restore the District of Columbia War Memorial at the National Mall and Memorial Parks in Washington, D.C.

To follow the progress of each project, visit www.interior.gov/recovery. The site includes an interactive map that enables the public to follow where and how the Interior’s recovery dollars are being spent.

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