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Washington Monument to get $7.5-million donation for repairs

January 18, 2012 |  9:04 pm


Washington Monument to get $7.5-million donation for repairs

A billionaire reportedly will donate $7.5 million to restore the earthquake-damaged Washington Monument.

The Associated Press reported Wednesday night that philanthropist David Rubenstein's gift will be announced Thursday.

Congress appropriated $7.5 million for the monument's repairs, with a matching amount to be raised privately. Rubenstein's gift delivers it all at once. 

The iconic obelisk cracked in August during a magnitude 5.8 earthquake centered in Virginia. Cracks are visible on the outside, including one near the top that is 4 feet long and up to an inch wide, and the monument leaks when it rains.

Engineers rappelled down its sides to assess the damage and found that it was repairable.

Finished in 1884, the monument is one of the capital's most popular tourist attractions, but it has been closed since the Aug. 23 temblor. Normally it gets about 1,700 visitors a day.

Rubenstein, co-founder of the Carlyle Group private equity firm, said he wanted the monument to reopen as soon as possible. 



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Photo:  Scaffolding is erected around the Washington Monument on the National Mall in October. The monument is to undergo repairs after a magnitude 5.8 earthquake damaged it in August. Credit: Andrew Cutraro / Agence France-Presse