WASHINGTON (AP) _ Construction permits are finally being issued for the long-delayed Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial slated for the National Mall.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar joined King's sister, Christine King Farris, Rep. John Lewis and others from the Congressional Black Caucus on Thursday to sign off on the project. A private foundation will build the memorial, then turn it over to the National Park Service.
A disagreement over how to secure the site against potential domestic terrorism delayed the project for a year, but a federal planning agency signed off on a compromise plan this week. Construction is to begin soon.
Organizers are celebrating the building phase of a monument that has been 11 years in the making. They hope to complete construction in 2011.