Archive for Thursday, September 8, 2005

Museum panel focuses on tasks

Fund-raising, infrastructure issues for Kansas Regional Prisons Museum to be studied

September 8, 2005

It didn't take long for a split to form in the newly formed Kansas Regional Prisons Museum Committee - but it was all by design.

The 11-member committee, appointed in August by Mayor Kenneth Bernard, met for the first time Thursday at The Overlook. By the end of the hour-long meeting, at Bernard's suggestion, the panel was split into two subcommittees: one to focus on raising funds; the other to focus on infrastructure.

"I think by having two separate committees, we can look more closely at the different issues involved," Bernard said to the committee members.

The goal for the entire committee is to develop a plan to fund and open the museum behind the existing Lansing Historical Society Museum on Kansas Avenue. It would display items of historical significance from the Lansing Correctional Facility, U.S. Penitentiary at Leavenworth, the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Fort Leavenworth and items from the Corrections Corporation of America prison in Leavenworth.

Supporters of the effort point to prison museums in other states, notably Texas, that draw thousands of visitors.

City Council member Robert Ulin, who has been an outspoken supporter of the museum, will lead the fund-raising committee. Ulin has previous fund-raising experience from his membership on a committee that raised funds for the expansion of the Liberty Memorial in Kansas City, Mo.

Joining Ulin on the fund-raising subcommittee are State Rep. Kenny Wilk, R-Lansing, Realtor Jerry Reilly, banker Harley Russell, and Leonard Lockwood, who is deeply involved with the Lansing Historical Society.

Members of the building and grounds subcommittee are Sara Huffman of the Lansing Historical Society, architect Bill Johnson, developer Jeremy Greenamyre, Lansing Correctional Facility warden David McKune and Fredrick Lawrence, warden, Corrections Corporation of America - Leavenworth Detention Center.

The infrastructure subcommittee will select its chairman at its first meeting.

Committee members gave the go-ahead to city staffers Shanae Randolph and Lorraine Gluch to pursue a matching grant from the Kansas State Historical Society to fund a feasibility study. The city has about $29,000 in funds available for its match.

Such a study, committee members said, would be invaluable as the project unfolds.

The subcommittees will meet on their own in as-yet unspecified times before reporting back to the full committee at a noon Dec. 1 meeting at The Overlook.

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