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|Sandburg Site Leader Optimistic About Reopening
|State lawmakers are in control of possibly reopening a number of state historic sites including one locally.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn announced that historic sites around the state, including the Carl Sandburg birthplace in Galesburg could reopen by June 30th if legislation is approved combining the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the state Historic Preservation Agency. The dozen state historic sites were closed under former governor Rod Blagojevich in attempt to close a budget deficit.
The President of the Sandburg Historic Site Association, Norm Winick, says he's had past conversations with Quinn who promised to reopen the sites once special appropriations were made. Winick tells WGIL if the site plans to reopen, it faces some challenges.
"We have a unique problem," Winick said. "Steve Holden, who had been our site superintendent for many years, retired while the site was closed. Even though they might decide to open it tomorrow, the state has to hire a new site superintendent or site manager to run the facility and be there when the tourists come."
Winick hopes to see the site reopen sometime before the summer visitor season. He calls the site a "cultural mecca," which inspires literacy and a love of poetry. He says the site means a lot to a lot of different people.
Winick couldn't provide a possible amount of revenue generated by the facility, saying the money collected at the site is a donation not forced upon people. He says he thinks of it as a type of library and museum and not as a theme park.
The Bishop Hill State Historic Site in Henry County could also be reopened.
(Story by Dominic Fortini. WGIL News Photos by Will Stevenson.)
|03 26 09 by Newsroom
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