Budget means extra closures for state historic sites

Budget means extra closures for state historic sites

SPRINGFIELD — Many state historic sites will close an additional day each week after Labor Day, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency said Monday.

The trimmed hours of operation are in response to what the governor's office called an "incomplete budget" passed by lawmakers last spring. It cuts operating funds for the historic sites from $5.7 million last year to $4.6 million for the fiscal year that began July 1.

Reducing hours of operation will not balance the agency's budget, said the historic preservation agency. That would require more drastic steps, such as closing some sites completely.

"Several legislators have said they want to reverse these cuts. We are grateful for their support and optimistic that something can be done to prevent deeper cuts to historic sites that contribute so much to education and the economy," said agency Director Amy Martin. "If the cuts aren't reversed, we'll simply run out of money to operate sites next year."

The Bryant Cottage in Bement largely will be unaffected because it now is open only from 9 a.m, to 5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Under the new hours it will be open the same days but from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Others sites, however, will have more significant cuts. They include:

— The Dana-Thomas House in Springfield will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. four days a week (Thurs-Sun).

— The David Davis Mansion in Bloomington will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. four days a week (Wed-Sat).

— The Lincoln Log Cabin in Lerna will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. four days a week (Thurs-Sun) instead of five, beginning Oct. 1. It currently is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. sevenb days a week.

— Lincoln's New Salem in Petersburg will switch to five days a week (9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wed-Sun) two months earlier than normal. It now is open seven day a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

— The Lincoln Tomb in Springfield will be open four days a week (9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wed-Sat) instead of seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

— The Old State Capitol in Springfield will operate four days a week (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wed-Sat) instead of seven.

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