Sequestration Results in Closures at Harry S Truman National Historic Site
INDEPENDENCE, MO-Due to sequestration the National Park Service is implementing some significant closures at Harry S Truman National Historic Site. With a heavy heart Superintendent Larry Villalva announced that the Truman Home at 219 N. Delaware, a beloved local landmark, will close on all Sundays, Mondays, and federal holidays. The closures will begin Sunday, March 24, and are expected to be permanent. The closures are part of the sequestration requirement to cut the National Park Service's budget by 5.0%.
The National Park Service Visitor Center at 223 N. Main Street will also close on all Sundays, Mondays, and federal holidays, or roughly 110 days per year. The Truman Farm Home in Grandview, which traditionally opens for tours during the summer, will no longer be open to the public. The grounds will remain open, but without money to hire seasonal staff, providing tours of the historic farm home is no longer possible.
The Noland Home at 216 N. Delaware, located across the street from the Truman Home in Independence, will no longer be open to the public. The historic Noland Home was recently restored and opened to the public for the first time in 2012. It includes state-of-the-art interpretive exhibits and public restrooms.
As a young man, Harry Truman spent eleven years on the family farm in Grandview. The long hours and hard work forever molded his character and prepared him for the many challenges that he later faced as president. The Noland Home is where Mr. Truman's favorite cousins once lived. He visited them often, especially during his nine-year courtship with Bess Wallace who lived across the street.
More than an estimated 5,000 visitors will be turned away by these closures each year. Local economies will also be impacted. In 2011, for example, visitors to Harry S Truman National Historic Site spent $1.9 million at local restaurants, hotels, and other attractions. Nationwide visitors to national parks in 2011 contributed $13 billion to local economies in direct spending, and overall they had a $30 billion impact on the US economy. By comparison the budget of the National Park Service is only $2.2 billion, or roughly 1/14th of one percent of the national budget.