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Philanthropist Puts Up Millions to Renovate Washington Monument Elevator


The moon passes behind the peak of the Washington Monument during a lunar eclipse, Sept. 27, 2015. Soon visitors will be able to enjoy the view from the top thanks to philanthropist David Rubenstein, who has pledged the funding needed to fix the monument's elevator, which was forced to shut its doors due to the elevator's mechanical failures.

Billionaire philanthropist David Rubenstein has pledged the funding needed to fix the elevator at the Washington Monument, which was forced to shut its doors several months ago due to the elevator's mechanical failures.

The National Parks Service shuttered the more than 550-foot-tall monument to George Washington on August 17 after numerous elevator failures left tourists stranded on its observation deck.

The $2 million to $3 million gift from Rubenstein will allow the NPS to modernize the elevator and its electronics system.

David Rubenstein, talks with media during a tour of the Lincoln Memorial, Feb. 15, 2016. Rubenstein has donated about $50 million over the past four years for restoration projects at memorials and monuments.

David Rubenstein, talks with media during a tour of the Lincoln Memorial, Feb. 15, 2016. Rubenstein has donated about $50 million over the past four years for restoration projects at memorials and monuments.

“The monument has become a symbol of our country, and reminds every one of the towering strengths of our first president,” Rubenstein said in a statement. “I am honored to help make this symbol safely accessible again to all Americans as soon as practicable.”

Rubenstein, who made most of his money with the Carlyle Group private equity firm, previously donated about $7.5 million to fix the Washington Monument after it was badly damaged in a 2011 earthquake. The Rubenstein donation made up about half of the $15 million it took to fully repair the monument.

In total, Rubenstein has donated about $50 million to the NPS over the past four years for various restoration projects at memorials and monuments around the Washington, D.C., area.

The Washington Monument is expected to re-open to visitors in 2019.

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