The decades-long dream to create the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C., will become a reality on Aug. 28. Fifteen years in the making, the memorial faced challenges—ranging from an extensive approval process to a site on the National Mall made of fill from the Potomac River—before construction could start in late 2009. Two years later, the design-build team, the first use of the delivery system for a memorial on the Mall, will deliver the $120-million vision within walking distance of the spot where Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech 48 years ago.
First authorized in 1996, the high-profile memorial has a mix of significant private and public stakeholders, including the Federal Commission of Fine Arts (FCFA), the National Park Service, the National Capital Planning Commission and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. Dr. Ed Jackson, executive architect with the foundation, says after ROMA Design Group of San Francisco won the design competition in 2000, negotiations began in earnest.