Federal Money Will Help Central Illinois Promote, Develop Lincoln Sites, Kenneth Lowe, Herald and Review, Springfield, Illinois.
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said Monday that Congress' approval of a plan to bring $15 million in grants to Illinois historic sites will help develop the resources to tell Abraham Lincoln's story. Durbin spoke with reporters in the atrium of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield as students viewed the museum's exhibits. "When I stand here and look at this museum, I think back 18 years ago when this was an idea," Durbin said. "The idea that there are hundreds of thousands of people streaming through those doors each year is an indication that this was the right idea."
If signed by President Bush, the money will go to the Looking For Lincoln Heritage Coalition, which has earmarked the money to give to Central Illinois communities in 42 counties for the development of historical and tourist attractions having to do with Lincoln. Counties that would receive money include Macon, DeWitt, Douglas, Logan, McLean, Tazewell, Sangamon, Piatt, Moultrie, Shelby, Coles and Woodford.
Nicky Stratton, associate director of the coalition, said the federal money does not carry with it any mandates on what the historical sites must do. "What happens is, communities will come to us with projects, and the idea is not for us to use this money, but to share it with those communities that can develop something really interesting," Stratton said.
Durbin said the investment in Illinois communities should create a good return in a tough economic time. "This may turn out to be an economical vacation to come down to our part of the world here and take the family on a tour through these communities," Durbin said.
Some sites affected by the grants:
- Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln Log Cabin Historic Site (pictured)
- Mount Pulaski and Postville State Historic Sites
- Vandalia Statehouse
- Lincoln Doubles Debate Museum in Charleston
- Macon County Log Court House
- Richard J. Oglesby Mansion in Decatur
- Lincoln Trail Homestead State Memorial in Decatur
Kenneth Lowe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org