Washington Monument fence to be repaired

Work could be completed within three months

  • The fence around the Washington Monument has been replaced by chain link after it was damaged in a traffic collision.
The fence around the Washington Monument has been replaced… (Liz Kay, Baltimore Sun )
March 26, 2011|By Liz F. Kay, The Baltimore Sun

The problem: A section of the fence around the Washington Monument is damaged.

The backstory: The Washington Monument in Baltimore has to be one of the most photographed sites in the city.

The monument — more than 150 years old — is a destination for tourists and wedding parties alike, not to mention all the festivals that take place around it.

And that's one of the reasons why the damage to a 15-foot section of the fence surrounding the historic site troubles Jean Renalds.

"I see it every day," said Renalds, who lives in an apartment that overlooks the monument.

In October, the driver of a 1997 Chrysler van struck the southeast section of the fence and fled the scene, according to news reports. A Baltimore police spokesman said at the time that investigators believed that alcohol was a factor in the crash.

"I woke up one morning, and we had this calamity with the fence," Renalds said. She saw people loading the damaged section into a truck and carting it off.

Since then, that area has been replaced by chain-link fence that doesn't match the original ornate black-and-gold metal gate.

"I just think, we're going to have the book fair and the flower show, and people will be coming from all over," Renalds said.

"I never dreamed they would just walk away from it, and that's it," she said.

But city officials say they have been working to repair the fence.

The city's Department of General Services is soliciting bids to replace the fence, which must be fabricated to match the remaining sections, said DGS spokeswoman Cathy Powell.

The monument is run by the Department of Recreation and Parks but works with the Department of General Services for construction and maintenance, in conjunction with the city Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation, she said.

It's not clear how much the project will ultimately cost, because the DGS is seeking competitive bids and won't know until the process has been completed, she said.

They estimate the project should be completed within eight to 12 weeks.

Who can fix this: Margaret Martin, chief, DGS Planning, Design and Construction Division, 410-396-4600. City residents should call 311 to report problems.

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Is there something in your neighborhood that's not getting fixed? Tell us where the problem is and how long it's been there by e-mailing watchdog@baltsun.com or calling 410-332-6735.

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