National Mall Makeover May Force Big Events to Move

Tom Sherwood

- NBC Washington

Known as America's front yard, the National Mall plays host to everything from family festivals to protests, but some big events may be forced to move, as the grass is in the midst of a multimillion dollar makeover.

The U.S. National Park Service is rebuilding the National Mall’s turf, and with new turf comes new restrictions on use to protect the grass.

The Library of Congress’ annual September book festival is moving to the convention center. Next year, the Folklife Festival may move to nearby streets. Other events are being curtailed.

“Three thousand events on the National Mall every year, we want to make sure it’s available for First Amendment use, for people who are playing pickup games, that big events can be on that space but that they are done in a sustainable way,” said Caroline Cunningham, who heads the privately funded Trust for the National Mall, which has raised $50 million for renovations in seven years.

Cunningham said the next big project is a makeover of Constitution Gardens to make it family friendly with good food and bathrooms.