WASHINGTON (WUSA9) --You can be sure security experts are looking over the safety plans for our Fourth of July celebration.
The U.S. Park Police says they've been extremely vigilant about security since 9-11 and will continue to be. All bags will be subject to search and to get on the mall you'll have to go through checkpoints.
There are changes to this year's Independence Day celebration that you will notice: cutbacks due to sequestration.
The concert that the National Park Service puts on near the Washington Monument costs about $240,000. It's getting the axe.
The fireworks cost about $260,000, but escaped the budget axe.
"We figured people come to see the fireworks, so we want to make sure they to see them," said Carol Johnson , spokesperson for the National Park Service.
Johnson says usually every ranger would be assigned to work on July 4th but, thanks to sequestration, not this year.
And, usually people are amazed how fast all the trash gets picked up. They won't be this year. Instead of paying people overtime to clean up overnight, the Park Service will save money by using volunteers the day after. Johnson says it'll take a bit longer to tidy up the Mall.
There is something new to look forward to on the Mall: new hi tech soil is producing beautiful lush grass to run, play and sit on.
The new sod can be found from 3rd to 15 streets. Underneath the sod is engineered soil with cisterns to collect water and help with drainage. The change was needed because grass would not grow in areas where the dirt was so compacted it was as hard as concrete.
Johnson said, "We want it to look like people expert it to look."
The U.S. Capitol Police commented on sequestration in an email:
"The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) is committed to the critical mission of ensuring the safety and security of the Capitol Complex, as well as protection of the legislative process, the Congressional community, visitors and residents of Capitol Hill. We have worked closely with the Capitol Police Board, reviewing every element of our mission requirements, to determine feasible solutions to effects of sequestration -- with the goal of minimally impacting security.
USCP officials have been planning and working on this issue since last year. Along with an array of operational cuts, our established plan includes the closures of multiple access points for Members, Congressional Staff and guests to the U.S. Capitol Complex. I can confirm door closures will have an impact on the time it takes for entry into the buildings. However, we are doing our best to redirect staff and visitors to open entrances to minimize inconveniences.
In addition to door and vehicular access point closures; we have also reduced our expenditures at the beginning of the fiscal year, to include the deferment of non-personnel expenses and the hiring for both sworn and civilian vacancies."