Dear Mr. Whitesell:
In its meeting of 19 January, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed and approved the proposal for landscape enhancements at the historic Japanese lantern and the adjacent memorial stone on the northwestern edge of the Tidal Basin near Kutz Bridge and Independence Avenue, SW. The Commission was honored to have the project introduced by His Excellency Ichiro Fujisaki, the Ambassador of Japan, who explained that his government is sponsoring the enhancements in celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the friendship gift of 3,000 cherry trees from Japan to the United States in 1912.
The Commission members expressed enthusiastic support for the project which will strengthen the relationship between the lantern—a gift from Japan in 1954—and the memorial stone commemorating the original 1912 gift of the trees by introducing two curvilinear walks and a small granite plaza. They noted that the granite pavers will be given a striated finish to resemble a traditional Zen garden and the project's elements will be designed to protect the roots of the existing cherry trees.
The Commission acknowledges the generosity of the Japanese people and, in its approval of the concept, delegated final review to the staff which is available to assist you with the project's development.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Steve Whitesell, Regional Director
National Park Service, National Capital Region
1100 Ohio Drive, SW
Washington, DC 20242
cc: His Excellency Ichiro Fujisaki, Ambassador of Japan
Hoichi Kurisu, Kurisu International
Peter May, National Park Service