The Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area has raised nearly $200,000 in its efforts to develop a plan for promoting the area's Civil War history, the group's chairwoman announced Thursday.
Deanell Reece Tacha, chairwoman of the area's board of trustees, also said Thursday she's confident the group will raise the additional $100,000 needed to fully fund the plan.
The $300,000 management plan needs to be approved by the Secretary of the Interior by Oct. 12, 2009, for the heritage area to have access to federal grants and funds, said Judy Billings, director of the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau. The plan will guide the development of attractions in the area, and how the area will be marketed. The heritage area includes large portions of eastern Kansas and western Missouri involved in the Bleeding Kansas era leading up to the Civil War.
The group hopes to have work started on the plan by next month and completed within a year, Tacha said.
Tacha provided the update as part of a meeting of the Destination Management Inc. board of directors. The Destination Management group is a new, Lawrence-based nonprofit organization designed to manage the operations of the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Freedom Frontier National Heritage Area, and to coordinate the historical and cultural tourism activities in the Douglas County area.
The group, also chaired by Tacha, worked on developing a budget for 2008 but did not finalize a plan. The board - which also includes County Commissioner Charles Jones, City Commissioner Mike Dever, County Administrator Craig Weinaug, City Manager David Corliss, and Chamber chair Joan Golden - discussed an annual budget of $175,000.
The group created a budget subcommittee to go over the numbers in more detail. Much of the group's immediate funding would come from the city's 5 percent bed tax, which has historically funded the Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The group will conduct its next meeting - open to the public - at 4 p.m. on Feb. 7 at City Hall, Sixth and Massachusetts streets.