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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Tribune: Politics, funding impede Pullman restoration as monument approaches 3rd anniversary

Via The Chicago Neighborhoods
This Tribune article updates us on the progress of that Pullman National Monument announced by then President Barack Obama in 2015:
Since 2015, Pullman National Monument has moved sluggishly toward these goals. The state-owned grounds are in the midst of an extensive cleanup from decades of industrial waste. The National Park Service’s visitors center, planned for the clock tower building, has been pushed back at least a year. Plans mapping out the monument’s long-term future were supposed to be completed within three years but are only now beginning. State and federal money has been minimal, and progress on some projects has been slowed because of several federal government shutdowns and an unprecedented two-year state budget standoff.

The one project that could move forward, an apartment building for artists, is on hold after federal officials told the developers to seek additional input from the public.

“My wife and I have been here for 50 years, and we’ve seen different cycles and levels of interest from people working in Pullman,” said resident Mike Shymanski. Progress “takes time and takes patience, but once the restoration is done it’ll be around a long time.”

Pullman was expected to draw 300,000 visitors per year by 2025, however, with its current annual attendance at only 50,000, those estimates seem ambitious.

Now, the park is contending with a president who is less supportive of conservation. The Trump administration recently shrunk two Utah national monuments, bringing about at least two legal challenges and legislation to counter the move.
Here's something from Tribune Graphics showing a map of the Pullman area under the national parks.
While it's not looking that good there are some positive developments:
The first floor of the state-owned Hotel Florence could open even sooner, possibly over the summer after contractors finish building an accessibility ramp and restoring and furnishing the elaborate interior.

The park service also plans to work outside the monument to generate buzz through a grant from the McCormick Foundation to develop curriculum in area classrooms on nationally significant themes: transformation of passenger rail travel, urban planning, Pullman’s role in the American labor movement and the porters’ civil rights movement.
What are the plans for the Hotel Florence? I'm very keen on finding out!

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