At Historic Sites, Budget Cuts Could Lead To Closures

Jul 31, 2014

The law office where Abe Lincoln had his practice is among the sites that could have reduced hours because of state budget cuts.

A budget cut is leading to a reduction in hours at many state historic sites. Officials say without more money, some sites could close completely.

This spring, lawmakers passed what they called a largely flat budget. One of the few areas of government to experience a significant funding cut was the Historic Preservation Agency, which runs dozens of sites, from the U.S. Grant Home in Galena to the Kincaid Mounds in far southern Illinois.

Spokesman Chris Will says most targeted sites will be closed one additional day a week. He says reductions are most likely where employees have recently left or retired, since the agency isn’t replacing them. At most sites, full staffing means only one or two workers.

“If one of the two staffers at a particular site leaves, that gives us very few options about how to operate the site and what hours to have,” Wills says, adding that the agency is working with lawmakers to restore the funding later this year.

He says if that doesn’t happen, in three or four months, Historic Preservation could be forced to close sites altogether.