Theodore Roosevelt Island neglected

Roosevelt Island in D.C. appeared to be neglected Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- One of D.C.'s best kept secrets, the Theodore Roosevelt Island near the Key Bridge, appears to be neglected.

In the 1930s, the island was all overgrown farmland when it was transformed into a memorial to Teddy Roosevelt. Some visitors said on Tuesday that its current condition is a disgrace.

"It's borderline not usable right now because of the condition that it's in. And it's really disrespectful to the intention of the original monument," said Sarah Marjane, an Arlington resident who frequents the island.

Teddy Roosevelt Island now eyes a memorial that some consider unworthy of his legacy.

"I think it's kind of sad. It feels like people just kind of forgot about it," said Nicole Montana, a visitor of Roosevelt Island.

The fountains on the island no longer flow, while the waters in the canals are at a standstill.

"It's kind of sad. The canals here are stagnant. They're creating mosquitoes. It's a problem," remarked Robert Grun, another visitor of the memorial.

"There's some reflection ponds here that are normally really beautiful but they're emptied out now, there's trash inside of them," said a dejected Marjane.

Once a grand memorial, Roosevelt Island has had little to no maintenance, especially compared to Washington's better known monuments.

"This one is a little bit more run down. It doesn't have that same kind of glory to it, which is a shame," stated Emily Homrich, an Alexandria resident.

One fountain had tadpoles swimming in a shallow layer of rainwater. The granite panels bearing quotes from the 26th president were barely readable.

"This is where government's supposed to be. This is what government's supposed to take care of," said Grun.

WUSA9's Andrea McCarren contacted the National Park Service. The NPS responded with this statement:

"The NPS is aware of concerns related to Teddy Roosevelt Island and we are taking multiple actions to address issues both immediately and into the future. The NPS just awarded a contract to repair the moats and this work should begin shortly. More long term, we are looking at ways to address the condition and access to the monument plaza, island trails, restrooms and water fountains. This process will include opportunities for members of public to contribute their thoughts. The park is also exploring ways to leverage partnerships that can help provide enhanced interpretation and education on the island and help with routine upkeep."

While the only way to reach the island by land is from the Virginia side of the Potomac, the island is actually part of Washington, D.C.

Hopefully the memorial can be restored to its past glory. As Roosevelt himself once said: "Believe you can and you're halfway there."

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