Laura Bush to raise funds to restore National Mall

AP News
Posted: May 05, 2011 1:50 PM

Laura Bush is headlining an effort to raise hundreds of million dollars from corporations and individual donors to restore the National Mall in Washington.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Thursday named the former first lady as honorary chair of the $350 million fundraising effort. He made the announcement during an annual luncheon on the mall that organizers say raised $1.75 million for the mall.

Bush will head a team of high-profile individuals supporting the nonprofit Trust for the National Mall. Since Jan. 1, the group has raised more than $3 million for the nation's most-visited national park.

Its dead grass, broken sidewalks and stagnant pools of water have drawn attention in recent years. The group says the mall needs $400 million for deferred maintenance and more to meet visitor needs.