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WASHINGTON -- The reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall is reopening after a two-year, $34 million reconstruction.

National Park Services spokeswoman Margie Ortiz says construction walls will be taken down Friday, and the area will reopen to the public at noon.

The pool and grounds have been a gathering place for historic events. It's where thousands gathered in August 1963 for a March on Washington to hear Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech. It has hosted protests and presidential inauguration gatherings.

The pool had stagnant water, though, and had begun to sink and leak. Now it's been reengineered with a circulation and filtration system. Rather than using city drinking water, it draws river water from the nearby Tidal Basin.

BRETT ZONGKER
Associated Press