Archive for Friday, January 11, 2008

Group works to market area’s historical attractions

January 11, 2008


Heritage group to promote Civil War history

Members of the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area have raised about $200,000 of the $300,000 they need to develop a plan for how to promote the area's Civil War history. Enlarge video

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.


blindrabbit 10 years, 3 months ago

Boy, is this long overdue! Lawrence has long had this historical "trump card" but for whatever reason has refused to play it. Was it denial that the area played a instrumental role in the Civil War, Westward Expansion or was it more Mid-western complaceny about talking our history. Or has the City relied on K.U. to be it's calling card.

Since the 1954 Centennial celebration when several historical ideas were proposed, Lawrence has done VERY LITTLE to promote it's past to the detriment of business, community pride and understanding. The Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2004 did not live up to it's promise. A few plaques downtown and a remote Clinton Lake Overview is about all we have.

Think of other locales in the U.S. that have capitalized on their history and what they would be if they had not moved forward. I have had the fortune to travel widely throughout the country, visiting historical areas on many occasions and when doing so I reflect back on Lawrence and wonder "why not here".

I wonder with Lawrences' inclusion in the Freedom Frontier concept how much Lawrence's role in history will be compromised. Will we be denied the "Border War" and "Bleeding Kansas" concepts as an attempt to placate the neighbors to the East. Will our unique position as an Abolitionist oasis be swallowed-up; at least we have Free State High School.

As it is said when the largess of the Federal Treasury has blessed us with $'s: "The Eagle Has Flown". My question: In the era of concern regarding pork-barrel spending and legislative Mark-up's", why Lawrence took so long to move forward if not on it's own. We should have been far down this road by now!

Good luck!!

lwiezorek 10 years, 3 months ago

I believe in terms of economic development, the revitalazation of any historical reference that the city of Lawrence or Douglas County may be involved with will most certainly be a "plus" for the city and county. I have met with and visited with some of the VOLUNTEERS for the various aforementioned projects and find them to be quite knowledgable. Also, lest we forget that there are also several organazations in this area that may prove to be a valuable source of information reguarding historical and maybe quite possibly financial support to the mission at hand. I know some of the viewers don't like to accept it, but there are most certainly Southern Heritage groups in the area that have expressed some intrest in the quest to make these projects move forward. Let's face the cold hard facts.There is always two sides to every story and allowing outside groups to participate may bring a little more to the table. Tip of the Stetson to all those brave souls that have devoted time from there busy schedule to make a dream become a reality.

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