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Banneker memorial moves ahead

(Published October 4, 1999)

A plan to build a memorial to African-American inventor Benjamin Banneker at L’Enfant Plaza has earned preliminary approval from the National Capital Memorial Commission.

The commission will recommend that the National Capital Planning Commission approve a site midway along the L’Enfant Plaza promenade for a statue of Banneker. The memorial effort is led by the Washington Interdependence Council, which has spent more than three years getting preliminary approval, said spokeswoman Peggy Seats.

Although design plans have not yet been approved, Seats said the council envisions a 9-foot statue atop a 20-foot pedestal midway along the promenade as well as a working replica of the grandfather clock Banneker invented around the turn of the century. The clock would stand near the entrance to the L’Enfant promenade at 10th Street and Independence Avenue SW.

The council also hopes to build a visitor center and erect educational displays about the designers and original commissioners of the federal city. A general upgrade of lighting, walkways and landscaping is also planned.

Seats said the council hopes to raise about $10 million toward the effort. A date for NCPC consideration has not yet been set.

Copyright 1999, The Common Denominator