Reporting Jessica Kartalija
BALTIMORE (WJZ)– The earthquake that violently shook the East Coast in August caused significant damage to the Washington Monument. Now, a Washington billionaire is stepping in to help pay for millions in repairs.
Jessica Kartalija has the story.
On Aug. 23, an earthquake shook the East Coast.
“I begin to hear noises coming from the elevator, noises I never heard before, and the public are looking at me, wondering what’s going on,” said Nikki Williams of the National Park Service. “The walls of the elevator are metal and they start to shake.”
Chunks of stone crumbled and numerous cracks formed– the largest reported to be four feet long and an inch wide.
Now, a Washington businessman is stepping in to help.
David Rubenstein, who heads the Carlyle Group, has agreed to donate $7.5 million to make it possible for the National Park Service to repair the national monument that occurred from last year’s earthquake.
Rubenstein, who runs a private equity firm, says he was inspired to help when he saw the amount of damage.
“It is really my pleasure and my honor to help and I hope that we can reopen this monument as soon as possible so everyone who wants to pay homage to our first president and see this historic building can do so,” Rubenstein said.
Funds will go toward repairing damage and strengthening the structure against future earthquakes.
“With Rubenstein’s gift and with matching federal funds approved by Congress in December, we now have the funds necessary to repair this damage,” said an official.
Rubenstein has also made large donations to the Smithsonian and the National Zoo, helping to fund its giant panda program.
He is from Baltimore, the son of a postal worker. He graduated from Baltimore City College and now lives in Bethesda.