WASHINGTON, September 27, 2013 – Even as Congress debates a government shutdown, an iconic American manufacturing brand made a significant contribution to the National Parks Service plan to restore the National Mall. John Deere, of green tractor fame, has added $400K to the fun to restore the National Mall.
“The National Mall is an iconic public space and we are so pleased that John Deere is partnering with us and the Trust to restore the National Mall,” said Bob Vogel Superintendent of the National Mall.
The Trust for the National Mall is a five year old foundation which has established the goal of raising $350 million to restore the 700 acres from the Potomac to the Capitol. It hosted an international design competition to improve signage on the Mall, and in addition to bringing modern amenities to the Mall, it is making the living history of the park connect with younger users by developing a social media app for the World War II memorial.
”We’re excited to be the non-profit partner of the National Mall and memorial parks and the very fact that we attract can an iconic brand like John Deere really speaks to the importance of this space for our country and the 25 million people who visit the National Mall every single year,” says Caroline Cunningham, National Mall Trust president.
“This space is the host of 3,000 permanent events and it sees a great deal of wear and tear and frankly the Mall has been loved to death’. So that is why we are launching the taking the plan that was signed in 2010 and make it a reality”.
As a result of the partnership, the terrace space from the area in front of the Capitol reflecting pool from 3rd to 7th Street has been restored. The partnership with John Deere will allow the Park Service to maintain the work that has been completed from 3rd to 7th street and extend it another 10 blocks to the Washington Monument with fiscal year 2014 funds.
Denver Caldwell, Director of Turf Marketing for John Deere, turned the Gold Keys to over $400,000 in the form of seven specialized pieces of landscaping equipment that will allow the Park Service to sustain the work already started on the east section of the Mall.
“John Deere is linked to the land and it is fitting that we make this commitment to what we recognize as company public lands and it just makes sense to be a part of this partnership,” Caldwell says. “The turf is a symbol of the work to bring partnerships and sends a message about the quality of work the this bringing private partners is the only way we are going to make it happen in these days of tight fiscal budgets.”
The National Mall is the most visited national park in the country with more visitors coming to Washington than Yosemite, Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon combined.
John Deere’s contribution of over $400,000 in equipment will allow the mall to sustain the work that was last done 40 years in restoring the mall. The equipment will be used exclusively to maintain the National Mall.
John Deere provided copies of a Gold Key to officially transfer the fleet of seven pieces of equipment to the permanent ownership of the National Park Service
John Jarvis, National Park Service Director closed the event saying, “This is really an extraordinary piece of ground. From Glenn Beck to Jon Stewart we host them all and that activity is seen all over the nation and world. There is a powerful symbolism that change can be made through peaceful demonstrations.’’
As the National Park Service enters its second century of service the restoration of the mall is one of the key goals of the Centennial celebration of its 100 year history. Implementing the Mall plan in partnership with the Trust and John Deere is seen as the key to its future.
The Park Service has used the equipment of John Deere, recognized as a great American brand during its entire history. John Deere was founded in 1837 in Moline, Illinois and the equipment came from four plants in Oregon, North Carolina, Augusta, Georgia and Greenville, Tennessee.
Saturday marks the celebration of National Public Lands Day and the Mall will host a variety of family-friendly events all day. Visit NPS.GOV or www.publiclandsday.org for complete details.
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