Archive for Thursday, July 19, 2007

Museum, earmark merit support

July 19, 2007

The Lansing, Leavenworth, and Port Leavenworth communities have an historic tie to the corrections field. Collectively, our regional corrections facilities are the largest employer in the county, contributing to the economic vibrancy of the community.

In recognition of this important heritage, a volunteer group has stepped forward and proposed the construction of the Kansas Regional Prisons Museum, to be located just a few yards from here.

The museum, to be constructed with private dollars, will recognize the historic role the corrections field has played in the development of our region. Additionally, its exhibits and programming will educate the public about this important heritage and will pay tribute to those corrections officers who have fallen in the line of duty. As envisioned, the Kansas Regional Prisons Museum will have not only this cultural and educational purpose, but also economic value to the state of Kansas as a tourist destination.

Fundraising for construction is under way and will be an ambitious effort. Support will be needed to find additional funds to outfit the museum with exhibits and provide restoration services.

To this end, Congresswoman Nancy Boyda has pledged to seek federal funds to help finance this interior work on the museum, making the project a truly public-private partnership. Unlike many of her colleagues, Congresswoman Boyda has been transparent about her support, and this has opened up her assistance and the museum to criticism today.

The Lansing community believes the Kansas Regional Prisons Museum project is worthy of federal support, and is grateful to Congressman Boyda for her efforts. While it is fair to evaluate each candidate for federal funding on its merits, this is often difficult to do, as most members of Congress do not release information about their requested projects. Please join us in recognizing Leavenworth County's unique cultural and economic heritage as a corrections center for northeast Kansas and the nation. Support the Kansas Regional Prisons Museum, and Congresswoman Boyda's efforts to assist it with federal funding.

- Mike Smith is Lansing city administrator.

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