SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich has proposed a $13.8 million fiscal year 2004 budget for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency that will allow for the opening and operation of the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield.
The proposed budget is 11.8 percent less than the agency’s FY03 General Revenue Fund appropriation of $15.7 million. Agency staffing levels have been cut by about 15 percent to 203 positions. The reductions are not expected to affect the agency’s ability to maintain public access at many of the state historic sites, to preserve its priceless historic documents and artifacts, and to continue to administer state and federally mandated historic preservation programs.
In addition to funds to operate the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, the governor’s proposed spending plan will mean that most of the nearly 60 state-owned historic sites and memorials operated by the agency will continue to remain open to the public on a five-day-per-week schedule. This schedule was first implemented in FY03 as a cost-saving measure and, under this budget, will remain in effect through fiscal year 2004.
“It is important that the public be able to experience as much of Illinois’ rich and diverse history as possible, even during lean economic times, said Maynard Crossland, IHPA director. “The governor’s proposed budget allows us to continue safeguarding the state’s historic treasures and to make them available to the public throughout the coming fiscal year. We particularly look forward to the opening of the Lincoln Presidential Library this spring and its enhancement of our ability to showcase many of Illinois’ priceless historic collections.”
The agency will continue to administer all state and federal historic preservation programs in Illinois, including the National Register of Historic Places, Certified Local Government program, review and compliance programs, and the historic rehabilitation tax incentive program. IHPA also will maintain its dedication to historical research and study through scholarly publications and the Illinois History Fair Program, which encourages middle and senior high school students to discover their own local and family history through a series of competitions and awards.