Douglas County Projects Recommended for $260K in Heritage Grant Funding

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Douglas County commissioners will be asked Wednesday to approve $260,000 in 2017 Natural and Cultural Heritage Conservation Grants, including a $104,000 grant to the University of Kansas Center for Research Inc., to identify natural and cultural sites to protect.

The Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council made the recommendations after a four-month application and review process during which 10 applications totaling $626,000 were submitted. The council is recommending approval of four applications totaling $260,000.

The Douglas County Commission created the grant program in 2011 with the goal of protecting the county’s natural and historical heritage.

The most expensive project recommended for funding is a $104,457 application from the KU Center of Research to identify and protect potential natural and cultural resource sites in the county. The applicant states the goal is “identifying a portfolio of potential project areas where high quality prairies and forests can be protected, with a focus on those that occur at or near historic buildings and structures.” The applicant further proposed to develop detailed plans to link multiple projects areas through habitat corridors, trails and public parks.

Also recommended for approval is a separate KU Research Center grant for $55,589 to identify stone-arch cellars in Douglas County built from 1850 to 1915. The project would explore the cellars’ uses, construction methods and variations. The Heritage Council proposes a stipulation that the project identify two to five of the cellars in each of the county’s nine townships and provide detailed descriptions of two or three cellars in each township.

The council also awarded to the Haskell Indian Nations University Cultural Center and Museum $73,194 for a documentary on the October 1926 opening and dedication of Haskell Stadium and World War I Memorial Archway. The grant recommendation was less than the $124,000 requested for the documentary and will fund the first phase of the film, including pre-production research, digital archiving, filming of family accounts of the dedications and other relevant interviews.

Jancita Warrington, Haskell Cultural Center and Museum director, said the 1926 dedication remains the largest event ever held in Lawrence, attracting more than 100,000 people. It was also significant because it was the first dedication of a World War I memorial in America, predating that of the Kansas City, Mo., Liberty Memorial by 10 days.

The final project recommended for approval would provide the Lecompton Historical Society with $26,769 for the partial roof replacement of the Territorial Capital Museum.

In the only other item on the regular agenda, commissioners will meet with Sheriff Ken McGovern in closed session to discuss matters relating to county building security measures.

The Douglas County Commission meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the Douglas County Courthouse, 1100 Massachusetts St. To view the complete agenda, visit douglascountyks.org.

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