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Schock Dedicates Pavillion In Western Illinois, Hopes To Establish National Park

Amanda Vinicky

An effort to create a national park at former town site in western Illinois remains stalled in the US Senate.  Congressman Aaron Schock, a Republican, is part of a bi-partisan group of lawmakers seeking the designation for New Philadelphia.

That site in Pike County marks the first town in the country founded by an African American.  Frank McWorter was a freed slave who created the community in 18-36.
Schock says creating a national park would allow more people to know the story of McWorter.  He says it work in tandem with Lincoln attractions in Springfield.

"We get a lot of tourism to the region already.  It would make for a nice side-trip, outside of Springfield a ways.  And I think it would be a great benefit to Pike County where it resides," Schock said.

Schock says there are financial concerns in the Senate about establishing more federal parks, but says he's hopeful the Senate will eventually approve the idea.

"There's a concern about establishing more National Parks, period.  Obviously, some members of the senate had financial concerns.  We worked through those concerns in the House. And it passed the House unanimously," Schock said.

Schock says both US Senators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin support the New Philadelphia plan and have written letters asking for the bill to be taken up.   A pavilion was dedicated at the former town site on Tuesday.

Lee Strubinger completed the University of Illinois Springfield's Public Affairs Reporting graduate program and is currently in Colorado.
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