SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency announced Monday that it has been forced to cut the hours of 13 historical sites after Labor Day, including some of the state’s most popular attractions.
In a news release, the agency said that the 19 percent cut in its budget from$ 5.7 million to $4.6 million approved by lawmakers for Fiscal Year 2015 forced it to cut back at sites such as the Old State Capitol in Springfield, the Lincoln Log Cabin in Lerna and Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville. Most will reduce the days they are open from five to four.
According to the release, even with the reduced hours, the agency’s budget is not balanced. Balancing the budget “would require more drastic steps, such as closing some sites completely.” Instead, the agency said that the cuts are designed to buy time in the hopes that lawmakers will restore funding in the fall to where it was before the budget was cut.
Agency Director Amy Martins said is optimistic that the cuts can be reversed as some lawmakers have said they want to do. But, she warned, “If the cuts aren’t reversed, we’ll simply run out of money to operate the sites next year.”