In a surprise move, White House spokesman Jay Carney announced today that the President signed an Executive Order authorizing the United States Park Service to enter into contracts to lease selected properties that the Park Services manages to private entities, in an effort to ease the budget deficit, in a manner similar to corporate “sponsorships” of some sports venues. Some sites would also be operated by the lessees for a profit, Carney stated.
“Initial plans are to experiment with leasing some sites to private corporations,” Carney said. “The Park Service is in negotiations with the Walt Disney Company to lease the Washington Monument for the next 5 years. Relationships like these with our corporate friends will not only strengthen our commitment to increasing public-private partnerships, but will help the Government balance the budget.”
Carney also indicated that if the beta tests are successful, other high-tourist traffic sites such as the various veterans’ sites and national cemeteries, as well as sites like Mount Rushmore and the Lincoln Memorial.
Initial projections for the Washington Monument are revenues of $1.2 million for the United States and a $26.6 million profit for Disney.