Pedestrian plaza, two buildings on agenda

WASHINGTON — The Kennedy Center is spreading out.

President Bush has signed legislation that would authorize $400 million to enable the center to expand its facility and become more accessible to Washingtonians. Approved unanimously by both houses of Congress, the measure authorizes the Dept. of Transportation to construct a pedestrian plaza over the Potomac Freeway, located outside the center’s front door. The freeway is part of a maze of highways that isolate the center along the Potomac River from most foot traffic.

The measure is believed to be the largest arts funding bill ever passed by Congress.

Kennedy Center president Michael Kaiser plans to raise an additional $250 million in a 10-year project to construct two buildings that would house education, rehearsal and administrative space, along with a museum for the arts. Kaiser is elated that the measure was approved without a dissenting vote. “The unanimous vote suggests many things about center, the arts, and the good investment that both represent for the nation,” he says.

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