State Journal Register

Senate panel approves only $5 million for library 


WASHINGTON - The Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday approved just $5 million to continue construction of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield.

That's half what the House OK'd last week as part of its Interior Department funding bill for fiscal 2002, which begins Oct. 1.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he hopes an additional $5 million can be added during a House-Senate conference later this year.

Congress last year approved $10 million for library, but only after Sen. Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill., tried to kill the measure because it failed to require that federal competitive bidding guidelines be used.

Congress has authorized up to $50 million over five years to help with construction of the $115 million project. The city of Springfield has committed $10 million and the state has agreed to pay $50 million. The rest will come from corporate and private donations.

Construction began Feb. 12. The library portion is expected to open in late 2002. The museum is scheduled to be completed in 2003.

The Senate funding bill also includes $960,000 for the continuing restoration of the mid-19th-century Miller House and Barn at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield. That funding was not included in the House bill.

Last fall, an initial $290,000 was allocated to fund the planning and preparatory work.

The wood-framed Miller House, the third house south of the corner of Eighth and Jackson streets on the west side of Eighth, is the highest priority in the site's ongoing restoration program. 

Preservation and restoration of the Miller House is called for in a master plan that was developed when the National Park Service took over responsibility for the Lincoln Home neighborhood in the early 1970s.