A before and after comparison of the United States Marine War Memorial statue displays the results of cleaning and waxing. That part of the renovation took place in late summer and fall at the Arlington memorial. Even though work around the memorial continues, the grounds remain open to the public.

The final phase of a multimillion-dollar upgrade at the United States Marine Corps War Memorial will begin soon, according to the National Park Service.

The three phases of the renovation project include or included: Renovation of the Iwo Jima statue and granite base renovations; roadwork reconstruction, and shrub planting and improved site line lighting. Public Information Officer and member of the project management team Aaron Larocca said two phases of repairs and revitalization of the Iwo Jima statue and roads and paths are complete.

The project was made possible by a $5.37 million donation to the National Park Foundation from David Rubenstein. The funding was a gift to the foundation’s Centennial Campaign for America’s National Parks.

Starting in August 2017, workers performed a condition assessment of the statue then cleaned and waxed the Iwo Jima likeness. The base was also cleaned, and battle location inscriptions of Iraq and Afghanistan were added to the memorial. This phase of work was completed in November.

“The second phase was the roadwork, and it involves changing asphalt road into a concrete road,” Larocca said. “The reason why that change is important is that concrete has a much longer life span. A lot of the visitors that come to the site on big, heavy tour buses, and the asphalt is not able to withstand the pounding the tours buses put on the asphalt, so we upgraded the surface to concrete.”

All the asphalt pathways were also milled and repaved with asphalt.

The grounds package, the final part of the renovation, called the grounds package, is scheduled to begin soon, according to NPS. Bushes and shrubs will be planted and potholes around the grounds will be repaired. Larocca added information panels detailing the history of the statue and grounds will be added to improve the visitor experience.

Larocca stressed the grounds are open while the project continues.

“While the memorial is still under construction the site is still available to the public. At no point have we closed off the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial,” he said.

A total of 1.5 million people visit the Marine Corps War Memorial each year. The Memorial is located less than a quarter mile from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall’s Wright Gate.

Pentagram Staff Writer Jim Dresbach can be reached at