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State Historic Sites Reopening

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Apr 23, 2009 9:20PM

The Dana-Thomas House, which reopened Thursday
Eleven state historic sites previously closed by former governor Rod Blagojevich - thanks to the budget - are now reopening. There was a public outcry when Blago shut the sites down on December 1, according to David Blanchette, spokesman for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Per the Trib:

"It was continuous and vocal," Blanchette said, adding that the phone calls, letters and e-mails to his office ran "easily into the many hundreds." Some were filed by residents of other countries upset with the closings of the Dana-Thomas House and Lincoln Log Cabin near Charleston. Other "genuine fans of history" also complained, as did smaller communities where sites were located. Those people viewed the places as revenue generators, Blanchette said.

"They saw the closings as a very shortsighted measure, and that's the way Gov. [Pat] Quinn saw it as well," Blanchette said.

Quinn, who replaced Blagojevich after he was thrown out of office in January, was more direct on April 15 when he ordered the sites reopened. He called Blagojevich's decision to shut them a "huge blunder" that cost the state thousands of dollars in tourism.

According to Blanchette, Quin has authorized funding for the sites through June 2010. The reopenings also mean that 33 state employees laid off by the closings have returned to work. Many of the sites reopened today.