16 Dec

The National Park Service was caught by surprise to learn control of the property Union Square is changing to Capitol hands in the newest Omnibus Bill out of concern for security. Senate Sergeant At Arms Former US Capitol Police Chief Terence Gainer said bringing Union Square under the US Capitol security umbrella has been long coming. The Architect of the Capitol oversees the Capitol complex. The Office of the Architect of the Capitol is ready to “assume responsibility of the care and maintenance of Union Square… as well as present an impressive and proper transition to Capitol Hill from the National Mall.” Union Square which includes Grant Memorial and the Capitol Reflecting Pool is perceived by the National Park Service as being a First Amendment demonstration space has been transferred to become jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol. Union Square had jurisdiction over the 11 acres since the 1930’s. The Bill provision appears to move the easternmost boundary of Union Square from 1st Street to 3rd Street in that the provision says, “To the extent that the Director of the National Park Service has jurisdiction and control over any portion of the area… and any monument or other facility which is located within such area, such jurisdiction and control is hereby transferred to the Architect of the Capitol.” 

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