Moving a jail, adding museum space and assisting with a historic dinner train were among six projects approved for funding through the Natural and Cultural Heritage Grant Program on Wednesday by the Douglas County Commission.
Ken Grotewiel, chairman of the county’s Heritage Conservation Council, presented the council’s recommendations for the six projects, chosen from 10 applications. Grotewiel said the council placed added emphasis on projects that could be completed within the next year.
In all, the six projects will receive nearly $300,000 in partial funds to assist with the following historic preservation projects:
•$55,000 for renovations and development of the Eudora Community Museum.
•$100,000 for a core exhibit about Douglas County history at Watkins Museum of History.
• $45,000 for a museum addition at the Wakarusa River Valley Museum.
•$40,000 for relocating the 1892 Lecompton City Jail to city-owned property.
• $54,000 for assistance in building a Free State Dinner Train in Baldwin City by the Midland Railway Historical Association.
• $3,500 for renovations to the Clearfield School for the Clearfield Community Historical Society.
In 2011 — the first year of the program — the council provided funding to 10 historic projects.
Douglas County Commissioner Jim Flory provided the only dissenting votes in the approval process, objecting to funding the dinner train and Watkins Museum projects.
“It’s not that I oppose the projects,” said Flory, but he noted his consistent concerns about using county dollars for the program in the tight economic times.
Commissioner Nancy Thellman thanked the council for its work, noting the difficulty in choosing between the valuable projects.
“It’s a tough assignment,” she said.