Economic Downturn's Impact on Historic Sites has President-Elect Obama's Attention

Posted on: December 3rd, 2008 by Sarah Heffern 1 Comment

Back in May, before we were aware of the danger the nation’s economy was truly in, we named California’s State Parks to our annual list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places when the state’s budget woes led to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger recommending drastic cuts that would have closed 48 parks. Changes to the state’s budget, along with increased user fees, kept the parks open, but California’s woes have proven, sadly, not to be unique. Over Thanksgiving weekend, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois announced that earlier-suggested closings of seven parks and a dozen historic sites would go forward, and our local partner, Preservation New Jersey, has posted updates to their blog about site closings in the Garden State.

Yesterday, in his remarks at a governor’s conference in Philadelphia, President-elect Barack Obama made it clear that the risk the economic downturn poses to our country’s heritage has not gone unnoticed – he included the closure of historic sites in a list of the difficult choices being made on the state level. (The mention comes at 2:27 in the video below.)

California, Illinois, and New Jersey are not alone in having their state parks and historic sites threatened by the economic downturn – it’s a nationwide situation. Share what’s happening where you live below.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.

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One Response

  1. Althemese Barnes

    December 7, 2008

    The John Gilmore Riley Center/Museum had to reduce it hours to 4 days a week from 10 am-4Pm (Mon-Thur) because of reduction in contributions: to meet operating expenses: utility especially. We also, due to the tight economic times and shortfall in budget, placed on hold succession plans to fill permanently our Executive Director position ( the current Director and founder of the museum has filled this position since her retirement from State Government in 1996), largely as a volunteer). Our revenue has been adversely affected for the first time to the point that we are concerned about keeping the doors open. The Riley House is a National Register property, constructed in 1890, and home of a former slave who achieved and maintained Booker T. Washington’s principles of maintaining a high standard of education, investing, and caring for the poor. It is also headquarters of the Florida African American Museum Network.