STATEMENT OF JOHN G. PARSONS, ASSOCIATE REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR LANDS, RESOURCES AND PLANNING, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES CONCERNING H.R. 1668, A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE ADAMS MEMORIAL FOUNDATION TO ESTABLISH A COMMEMORATIVE WORK ON FEDERAL LAND IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ITS ENVIRONS TO HONOR FORMER PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS AND HIS LEGACY
JULY 17, 2001
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interiorís views on H.R. 1668, which would authorize the Adams Memorial Foundation to establish a memorial in the District of Columbia and its environs to honor former President John Adams, along with his wife Abigail Adams and his son, former President John Quincy Adams, and the familyís legacy of public service.
The Department supports enactment of H.R. 1668 as amended and passed by the House of Representatives on June 25, 2001. This position is consistent with the recommendation of the National Capital Memorial Commission, which endorsed the proposed legislation by a unanimous vote on April 26, 2001.
H.R. 1668 authorizes the establishment of the Adams memorial in accordance with the Commemorative Works Act of 1986. The Act established a process under which, following authorization of the subject matter by Congress, the Secretary of the Interior submits a plan for the site and design of the memorial for approval by the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of Fine Arts.
The bill also provides that no Federal funds shall be used to pay any expense of the establishment of the commemorative work. The Adams Memorial Foundation would be responsible for not only the cost of construction of the memorial, but also for establishing a fund in the Treasury equal to ten percent of the cost of construction for catastrophic maintenance and preservation, as provided for in Section 8(b) of the Commemorative Works Act.
A memorial to John Adams, Abigail Adams, and John Quincy Adams in the Nationís Capital would be quite appropriate. As one of the findings in H.R. 1668 states, "Few families have contributed as profoundly to the United States as the family that gave the Nation its second president, John Adams; its sixth president, John Quincy Adams; first ladies Abigail Smith Adams and Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams; and succeeding generations of statesmen, diplomats, advocates, and authors." One of the three Library of Congress buildings is named after John Quincy Adams but, otherwise, there is no major public work in the District of Columbia that recognizes or memorializes John Adams or John Quincy Adams. We agree with the sponsors of this bill that these father-and-son presidents and their familyís legacy of public service deserve a memorial in Washington.
As noted above, this legislation simply authorizes the process for developing an Adams memorial to move forward. The Adams Memorial Foundation has not yet proposed a design or site for the memorial, nor have there been any decisions made by the National Capital Memorial Commission, the Commission of Fine Arts, or the National Capital Planning Commission other than endorsement of H.R. 1668 by the National Capital Memorial Commission. However, because the three commissions have established policies against siting any more memorials in the "reserve," the area that represents the Mall east to west and the White House to the Jefferson Memorial north to south, the memorial would not be located there. Instead, the recommended site would likely be one of the 100 sites that have been identified in a master plan for memorials and museums in the District of Columbia and its environs by the three commissions as sites that are appropriate for new memorials.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.