Peoria Journal Star

July 10, 2003

Senate committee OKs cash for Knox
Money to develop exhibits still must be authorized by the full Senate, House

of Copley News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday approved $500,000 to develop permanent exhibits of the Lincoln-Douglas debates and the Underground Railroad at historic Alumni Hall at Knox College in Galesburg.

If given final approval, the funding would be a small part of the total $9.3 million needed to complete renovation plans for the 1890 structure, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Galesburg Historic District.

The funding was included at the request of U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., in the Senate's $4.5 billion fiscal 2004 funding bill for the legislative branch, which received unanimous approval. But the bill still must be approved by the full Senate as well as the House before funding is finalized. The House Appropriations Committee included no funding for the Galesburg project.

So far, the state of Illinois has contributed $1.5 million through the Illinois First program to complete asbestos and lead abatement, tuckpointing and other preparations for renovation. Private contributions have totaled $300,000.

Last year, Congress approved $100,000 for the renovation through a fiscal 2003 funding bill for veterans and housing programs at the request of U.S. Rep. Lane Evans, D-Rock Island, who is senior Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Another $500,000 has been requested by U.S. Rep. Ray LaHood, R-Peoria, for fiscal 2004, an aide said. Durbin and LaHood sit on the Senate and House appropriations committees.

The $500,000 would support the Knox College Lincoln Studies Center.

In addition, the Senate committee approved $2 million to train Illinois teachers how to use the Library of Congress' digital collections in classroom instruction. The "Adventure of the American Mind" program was formerly called "Joining Hands Across America."

The funding, through the Library of Congress, would aid new or continuing programs at various Illinois education institutions, including Illinois State University in Normal.