More national historic sites find private funds to reopen as slimdown continues

Published October 16, 2013

| Associated Press

Tourists are once again flocking to Mount Rushmore National Memorial in the Black Hills of western South Dakota.

National parks have been closed since Oct. 1 because of the partial government shutdown, but South Dakota and several corporate donors worked out a deal with the National Park Service to reopen the iconic landmark beginning Monday.

Spokeswoman Maureen McGee-Ballinger says about 3,000 people visited the site on Monday — typical for a cold, snowy October day.

McGee-Ballinger says the site is funded for 10 days, through Oct. 23. The Rapid City Journal reports that the Park Service is charging the state $15,200 per day.

Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C., Ford's Theatre will reopen its doors and resume performances Wednesday, using private funding, even though the partial government shutdown has continued into a third week.

Theater officials announced Tuesday that the national historic site and performance space will reopen Wednesday. Theater trustee Ronald O. Perelman, the chairman and CEO of MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings Inc., donated $25,000 in emergency funding to pay for the theater's operations for the next eight days.

Ford's Theatre, where President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, is a National Park Service site. A private group runs the theater's programming.

On Wednesday, the theater will resume performances of "The Laramie Project," which is part of the theater's Lincoln Legacy Project focusing on diversity and equality. The production marks 15 years since Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, was abducted and killed in Laramie, Wyo. Remaining tickets are $25 each.

The Ford's Theatre Society has been losing about $100,000 in revenue per week since the theater went dark at the start of the highly anticipated "Laramie Project" production due to the slimdown, said spokeswoman Lauren Beyea. The show will run through Oct. 27, but will not be extended because the actors have other commitments.

An agreement was made to reopen Ford's Theatre after several states agreed to provide funding to reopen national parks in other areas. The National Park Service agreed to a similar arrangement for the theater.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/travel/2013/10/16/more-federally-funded-historic-sites-reopen-amid-slimdown/