Local Reaction to Historic Site Cuts

$1.1 million in cuts in the budget to the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency have not affected one local historic site, and that has the local tourism director breathing a sigh of relief.

While a number of historic sites statewide will see reduced hours, the Carl Sandburg Birthplace in Galesburg is not on that list. Knox County Tourism Director Bill Morris sits on the Sandburg Birthplace board, and says that’s a good thing, given that there are times when the site is open every day of the week.

Morris tells WGIL things at the site are much better than a few years ago, when a round of budget cuts did affect the birthplace.

“We only had 3,000 visitors in a very limited season, when we were challenged to be open,” Morris said. “We’ve been open a lot, so I would hazard a guess that there’s at least been double the visitors.  We’re hoping to come up with some ways to get more people out there as well.”

Morris, however, does say there can be somewhat of an impact on the cut of one day of operation to the Bishop Hill State Historic site. though the village remains open. He says while that can impact things like hotel room stays in Galesburg, the bigger hit will be on the businesses in Bishop Hill that rely on the site being open.

Morris says cutting funding to historic sites has become a political issue, and it shouldn’t be.

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