October 26, 2009

Perimeter Security at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
(File Number 5907)

The National Capital Planning Commission approved a revised perimeter security plan for the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial. The project will be located on the National Mall on a four-acre site near the Tidal Basin. NCPC scheduled the meeting at the request of the Secretary of the Interior.

The Commission had approved preliminary and final site and building plans for the memorial in September 2008, except for a proposed donor wall and perimeter security elements. The Commission concluded at that time that the applicant’s submitted threat assessment was inconclusive in supporting the need for perimeter security. The donor wall was subsequently removed from the project.

For the revised plan, the National Park Service (NPS) integrated the proposed security elements into the overall design of the memorial and provided supplemental threat assessment materials to justify its proposal.

The Park Service worked in conjunction with the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc. on the new submission and developed it in accordance with NCPC’s National Capital Urban Design and Security Plan Objectives and Policies.

The revised plan features a depressed planter situated at the main entrance near the intersection of Independence Avenue and West Basin Drive, SW. The planter would rise to a maximum height of 2-feet 3-inches above grade and contain low-lying plants and two American elm trees. Bollards would be located across the memorial’s pedestrian entryways on either side of the planter and at the two side entrances. The memorial’s existing retaining walls would provide the bulk of the perimeter security. The original design featured a line of eight bollards located in the memorial’s forecourt with additional bollards located at the memorial’s two side entrances.

When completed, the memorial will feature three main design elements, including the Mountain of Despair, a curved Inscription Wall, and the Stone of Hope featuring the likeness of Dr. King.

See the Commission Action and Staff Recommendation