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Mr. GRAY. I want to thank all of the subcommittee members for their kind attention in attending these hearings for 4 days. You have been very helpful.
With that, we will adjourn, and meet again on next Tuesday in executive session at 10 a.m. and, I hope, a full committee meeting on Thursday.
With that, I thank all of the public witnesses and again thank the members of the committee.
The meeting now stands adjourned. (Whereupon, at 1:21 p.m., the public hearings were concluded.) (The following was furnished for insertion :)
STATEMENT OF Hon. John J. FLYNT, JR., A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
THE STATE OF GEORGIA Mr. Chairman, as desirable as it may be to establish a National Visitor Center in our Nation's Capital, I suggest it must be considered in the context of the President's request for a surtax on individual and corporate income taxes in order to meet funding requirements of the Federal Government.
At a time when the Chief Executive considers an increase in the tax burden to be necessary, a new look must also be taken at the projects and programs which create increased demand for additional Federal funds. I believe it to be necessary to establish priorities among these demands for Federal funds and to weigh these priorities and the contents of the programs therein against the extent of the added burdens of taxation and the effects upon those who must assume these burdens.
In this context, the establishment of a National Visitor Center at this time does not, in my opinion, warrant the assignment of a priority high enough to recommend its approval.
For this reason, I am presently opposed to H.R. 12603. At another time and under other circumstances, I might conceivably feel very different about this proposed legislation.
STATEMENT OF Hon. Donald G. BROTZMAN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM
THE STATE OF COLORADO Mr. Chairman, I welcome this opportunity to present a statement on H.R. 12603, the National Visitor Center Act of 1967.
When notice of these hearings was first given, I immediately began to gather background information on this proposal, but unfortunately many questions remain unanswered—particularly fiscal questions. I hope these will be answered during or as a result of these hearings.
Mr. Chairman, each month I have dozens of visitors from Colorado in my office. Many of them often have some complaint about the lack of visitor facilities in the Nation's Capital. I decided to poll all of the visitors who have stopped at my office and who signed my guest book during this session of Congress in an effort to determine what experiences they had and what their opinion was on the ability of the Capitol Hill area to receive visitors. The response to the poll was overwhelming and did point to a definite need for improvements. The results of the poll are included at the end of this statement.
The poll points out a pressing need for improvements in parking and restaurant facilities in the Capitol Hill area. Most of my visitors believed that the available public transportation and guide services are adequate.
Many of those responding to my poll took the time to write additional comments and observations regarding the proposed National Visitor Center.
One constituent wrote:
"I feel the National Visitor Center is a tremendous idea. By receiving instructions on how to reach points of interest from such a center, and by having buses run directly to the tourist attractions, the visitor could avoid many hours which are wasted merely in searching for a way to get around in Washington.”
Others expressing favorable comments on the proposed Center wrote as follows:
"A National Visitor Center would, I believe, be an asset to planning one's visit to the Capitol area."
“I like the idea of a Center. We should do all necessary—on a pay-for-itself basis-to make a visit to Washington, D.C., a really meaningful experience for all Americans."
"I would hate to see Washington become extremely commercialized due to its great historical background. Yet, the crowds that do flock to Capitol Hill demand new measures. Be careful not to over-commercialize it!"
Not all of the comments were favorable:
"I feel that a large expenditure of money in Washington for the benefit of visitors is plain waste."
"'I feel there are much more urgent and worthwhile projects for our Federal government to support.”
“Do we really have to spend money on items like this (National Visitor Center). Spending has to stop somewhere and the above does not seem to me to be a necessity when compared to our other needs.”
Mr. Chairman, like many of my constituents who responded to the poll, I do not question the need for such a Center. I support the general concept, and believe that it would go a long way toward improving Washington's tourist environment and suitability to receive visitors from around the world.
I also believe that the selection of Union Station for a visitor center is a wise chcice. Union Station is one of the most beautiful buildings in Washington and is a fine example of classic architecture. It should be preserved.
My major concern—and one which was expressed by a number of my constituents—is one of economics.
Some of the gross statistics are on the table, particularly with regard to the conversion of Union Station. All of the changes, improvements and modifications will be made by the owners of Union Station, who would then lease the revised facilities to the government for just under $3,000,000 per year. What would it cost to build an equivalent center from the ground up? Estimates run between $25 million and $50 million.
These statistics would seem to make Union Station something of a bargain. However, I would like to suggest that a complete fiscal analysis will have to prove this before I am ready to accept the Union Station proposal as it stands.
For example, it is contemplated that the 4,000 parking spaces provided by the center would bring in most of the revenues.
Statistics on income from other concessions and operating costs of the center are somewhat vague. If we can make a rather optimistic assumption that they will balance one another, this means that each parking space would have to earn $2.06 per day the year around, or else the American taxpayers are going to be making up an annual deficit.
The concessions which will be included in the facility are subject to the agreement this bill authorizes the Secretary of the Department of the Interior to make with the owners of Union Station. The existence or scope of restaurant facilities are not now spelled out.
With so many matters up in the air and left to the discretion of the Secretary, it is hoped that the Committee will include in its bill certain terms which must be contained in the agreement with the owners of Union Station.
More information is needed on the financing of the Center, and specifically, on how much of the cost is to be provided by congressional appropriations.
Mr. Chairman, it is hoped that these hearings will provide that needed information. Otherwise, it is my feeling that it will be almost impossible to assess the consequences of favorable action on H.R. 12603.
RESULTS OF NATIONAL CAPITOL VISITORS POLL BY REPRESENTATIVE DON BROTZMAN, SECOND DISTRICT,
1. Parking facilities on Capitol Hill.
18 42 82 43
77 66 20 20
8 14 53
List of persons responding to the poll (All respondents are residents of Colorado unless otherwise indicated) Jane Lyons, Lakewood
David Cole, Littleton
Nancy Looney, Boulder
Ken Bueche, Arvada
Constance Brown, Santa Maria, Calif. Stan Bogue, Greeley
R. D. Barnard, Littleton William Wallace, Englewood
Jann Moyers, Denver Leon S. Stanton, Salida
Boyce Anderson, Denver George Zoellner, Aurora
Joseph A. Armlerust, George D. Wolf, Boulder
Belfield, N. Dak. Robert C. McAttee, Sterling
Donald D. Thomas, Colorado Springs Jon Cram, Lakewood
Steve Arnold, Monument Dr. & Mrs. Robert O'Dell, Aurora
Wendall Fritzel, Sioux Falls, S. Dak. Chas. E. Brokaw, Lakewood
Fred G. Jager, Littleton Kenneth Mecher, Denver
William K. English, Littleton Craig R. Minear, Denver
George V. Whitfield, Littleton Mike William, Hudson
Grant V. Wickard, Denver Jeanne A. Farrar, Lamita, Calif.
John A. Thiel, Denver Mrs. J. B. Carter, Colorado Springs A. B. Loden, Littleton Grant Wilkins, Englewood
Mrs. John Butts, Denver Donald L. Preszler, Denver
Oren & Iris Bidwell, Denver Sorin Jacobs, Boulder
G. G. Peterson, Englewood Kenneth Balemit, Glenwood Springs R. W. Woodard, Wheat Ridge F. W. Reich, Boulder
Mr. & Mrs. Edwin Watson, Littleton Mildred M. Carey, Lakewood
Norman S. Knudsen, Buena Vista M. L. Strub, Denver
Cliff Johnson, Longmont C. H. Starks, Keenesburg
William S. Livingston, Lakewood Bill Hiner, Denver
Nelson Aldrich, Salt Lake City, Utah Carl Gustafson, Denver
Ray Wilson, Denver J. F. Kelly, Denver
J. S. Nichols, Colorado Springs JoAnn C. Baird, Boulder
George E. Westerberg, Denver Pete Pleasant, Craig
Bob Magnuson, Littleton John T. Stephens, Longmont
E. Proctor Nold, Denver Lelyn L. Bryan, Ault
Lt. Col. J. G. McGrew, Denver Mrs. Margaret Guccini, Lamar
Alfred C. Nelson, Denver Dr. Richard M. Nelson, Denver
Marion McElwain, Boulder Clotilda Jones, Boulder
Howard O. Ashton, Boulder Vicki Lowe, Arvada
Julius A. Tracy, Boulder Rocco Gioso, Wheat Ridge
E. B. Waggoner, Denver
Mrs. George Schaefer, Littleton
Mr. & Mrs. C. A. McBride, Littleton Stan Swanson, Aurora
Conrad Blomberg, Denver Charles McLaw, Lakewood
Robert J. Brown, Denver Chet Davidson, Denver
Bob Martin, Denver Joan E. Light, Boulder
C. G. Kettering, Englewood Clair Toone, Salt Lake City, Utah Mr. & Mrs. Wendell J. Garwood, Denver C. Leon Nazzer, Denver
Walter E. Mitchell, Denver Mr. & Mrs. Ben Woodward, Boulder Susan Skinner, Aurora Mrs. John R. Little, Boulder
L. A. Clark, Boulder Arnold E. Price, Longmont
E. F. Phipps, Ft. Collins Mat Fennerger, Arvada
Audrey Sandstead, Ft. Collins Wayne McNeal, Kersey
Mr. & Mrs. E. A. Fortier, Denver Ila D. MacPhail, Golden
Byron L. Gillett, Aurora Charles L. Thomson, Pueblo
Lee E. Schlessman, Denver Chas. J. Roubique, Boulder
Stan Nikkel, Washington, D.C. R. D. Taylor, Security
C. R. Bacon, Denver Herman W. Volz, Sterling
Mark E. Reames, Denver
THE PAN AMERICAN LIAISON COMMITTEE
OF WOMEN'S ORGANIZATIONS, INC.,
Washington, D.C., August 28, 1967. Congressman KENNETH GRAY, Chairman, Subcommittee on Public Buildings and Grounds, House Committee of
Public Works, Washington, D.C. DEAR CONGRESSMAN GRAY: I am directed by the President of PALCO, Inc., Mrs. Anita Sandelmann, to write you in support of a MERIDIAN HOUSE FOUNDATION Resolution fully supporting the creation of the National Visitors' Center, at Union Station or at any other central location which would provide reasonable access by the foreign visitor to the Capital and to Metropolitan Washington.
Mrs. Sandelmann, her Board of Directors, and the entire membership of PALCO supports this resolution and will do everything possible toward encouraging its implementation. Yours sincerely,
BARBARA DE ZOUCHE PALMER,
MERIDIAN HOUSE FOUNDATION,
Washington, D.C., September 19, 1967. Hon. KENNETH GRAY, House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.
DEAR MR. GRAY: Attached is a statement submitted for the record by the Meridian House Foundation in support of H.R. 12603 on the National Visitor Center. The Foundation believes that such a Center is essential in helping not only the millions of Americans who visit the Nation's Capital each year, but also several hundred thousand international visitors who come here to gain better understanding of Americans and of our National Government and how it operates.
We are particularly interested in seeing that the needs of visitors from abr are given appropriate attention in the planning and development of the National Visitor Center. The Foundation, through the volunteer and professional staffs of the International Visitors Service Council of Greater Washington Organizations (IVIS), which it administers and finances, will welcome the opportunity to work with the United States Congress, the Department of the Interior, and any Committee, or Commissions, that may be established in connection with the National Visitor Center.
Mr. Gilbert B. Lessenco, one of the Foundation's Trustees, has agreed to serve as our liaison on this project. His address and telephone number are: Mr. Gilbert B. Lessenco, Wilner, Scheiner & Greeley, 1343 H Street, N. W., Washington, D.C., Telephone : 638–6900.
We look forward to vorking with your Committee and others on this important undertaking in the months ahead. Sincerely yours,
PHILIP L. GORE,
STATEMENT ON THE NATIONAL VISITOR CENTER, SUBMITTED BY PHILIP LARNER
GORE, PRESIDENT OF THE MERIDIAN HOUSE FOUNDATION The Meridian House Foundation, a private, non-profit corporation and the organizations associated with it, especially the International Visitors Service Council of Greater Washington Organizations (IVIS), are greatly interested in plans for the establishment of a National Visitor Center, since we provide many thousands of international visitors now coming to the Nation's Capital with a variety of services each year.
During the past year, IVIS received 1,045 requests for services to international visitors from member organizations, Government agencies, businesses, international visitors, local hosts, and international conferences. Through these requests,
7,657 visitors from 86 countries were served. Since IVIS channels international visitors to its 66 member organizations and serves as an information and referral center for them, the international visitors who benefit through services of member organizations would number many additional thousands throughout the year. A list of member organizations is attached. It should be pointed out that the thousands of Americans who make up the membership of these service organizations come from nearly every segment of our society and can provide broad community support for an outstanding project like the National Visitor Center.
While requests received by the IVIS office for information and home hospitality are numerous, more than half of them during the past year were for services involving language assistance. Bilingual staff members and a corps of volunteers offered assistance in thirty languages. Uses of the IVIS Language Bank vary from providing a non-English speaking visitor with an escort guide to furnishing language aid for international meetings. Because of its broad experience in working with foreign visitors as well as its Language Bank facilities, IVIS was called upon during the past year to assist on five major conferences on horticulture, social work, nephrology, electricity, and “Water for Peace.”
The Foundation is convinced that this kind of citizen diplomacy can make an important difference in the impression our visitors from abroad take home with them of the United States, its citizens, and our way of life.
The fact should also be kept in mind that the millions of dollars spent here in the United States by our visitors from abroad have an important impact on this country's international trade balance. The U.S. Travel Service reports that during the past year more than a million visitors came to the United States from abroad—not including visitors from Canada and Mexico. Of these visitors from abroad, it is estimated that about one-quarter of them came to Washington. It should be pointed out, also, that foreign travel is on the upgrade, and each year shows a striking increase over the preceding one. Tourism has now become the third largest industry in the United States, and the U.S. Travel Service predicts that within the next 18 months, revenues from international tourism will pass the $2 billion mark. These figures, of course, simply confirm the urgent necessity for a National Visitor Center in the Nation's Capital if we are to serve our visitors from abroad, as well as our own zens, effectively.
We, therefore, heartily endorse the establishment of a National Visitor Center since we believe:
(1) There is a need for a central source of information about our Capital and our Nation. There is currently much information of this type, but it is scattered and often unavailable.
(2) There is a need for a reception center where the visitor can be welcomed. It is important that the visitor and his needs be recognized by the host city and Nation-whether it is American parents trying to give their children an educational opportunity, a family on holiday, 2. foreign businessman trying to promote trade, or a visitor interested in a place to stay.
(3) There is a need for introducing a visitor to our Nation's Capital and helping him to gain an appreciation of the Nation's heritage. It is our understanding that the National Visitor Center will have films and exhibits, lectures and displays about the history, the growth, and the development of the Nation's Capital, and the organization and operation of the Federal Government. This is extremely important since it will provide the visitor with the opportunity for a pleasant and informed tour, as well as an educational experience. This would complement the information offered by Congressmen to their constituents and would assist in giving visitors an understanding of our Governmental processes.
(4) There is a need for improved facilities for national and international conventions. A referral and information center staffed by experienced, multi-lingual assistants, which the National Visitor Center could provide, would attract more conferences.
As an expression of its sur ort for the establishment of a National Visitor Center, the Board of Trustees of the Meridan House Foundation passed the following resolution :
Whereas, the Meridian House Foundation is a non-profit organization active in and dedicated to effective provision of services to sponsored and non-sponsored foreign visitors to the Greater Washington area ; and
Whereas, the Meridian House Foundation has read with interest the proposal of the National Visitor Center Commission Site Selection Committee for the creation of a National Visitor Center at Union Station; and