Eisenhower family wants new Ike memorial design

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Several lawmakers weighed in, though, and weren't satisfied there was enough progress in resolving differences over the design.

The memorial will likely never be completed in its current form, said California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, "because it never will be funded in its current form." He said it would be out of place among the memorials to Lincoln, Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

Bishop, who called the hearing, said he still supports completion of a national memorial to Eisenhower, though he said the current project had become "a monument to a designer with a theme about President Eisenhower."

Because the memorial project needs to be reauthorized by Congress, he said now is the time to reevaluate what's been done.

New Jersey Democratic Rep. Rush Holt, who said he likes the current design, asked whether further changes could be made to satisfy critics and keep the project on track.

"The only thing worse than art designed by a committee is art designed by a congressional committee," Holt said.

Gehry has made some design changes. But there's been no indication he would rethink the idea of including tapestries with the Kansas landscape. Gehry has said leaving out the imagery from Kansas would omit an important part of Eisenhower's story because he was so proud to have grown up in the heartland.

The project still awaits final design approvals from regulatory agencies before construction could begin.

Lawmakers, however, said the proposed tapestries would depict mostly trees that aren't unique to Kansas. Some said the tapestries are the most expensive part of the memorial. But memorial planners said the tapestries account for only 6 percent of the construction cost.

None of the lawmakers who serve on the 12-member memorial commission attended the hearing Tuesday. Hawaii Sen. Daniel Inouye, a World War II veteran who championed the memorial project and was the commission's vice chairman, died in December.

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