Funding provided through the NPS Centennial Challenge Program

ER, FDR, Earl Miller and Missy LeHand at Val-Kill 1932 and Franklin Jr and John Roosevelt
ER, FDR, Earl Miller and Missy LeHand at Val-Kill 1932 and Franklin Jr and John Roosevelt

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News Release Date: February 4, 2016

Contact: Sarah Olson, 845-229-9115 Ext 2033

The Home of Franklin Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Sites announce project

Funding provided through the NPS Centennial Challenge Program

Hyde Park, NY—This week, the National Park Service announced $15 million in support of 69 projects in 63 parks, including $ 285,955 at the FDR Home to restore the Roosevelt Home Garden and $ 31,713 at Eleanor Roosevelt's Val-Kill to rehabilitate the historic swimming pool. Matching funding will come from two park partners, the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Conservancy for the Home Garden and The Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Partnership, through the support of Jim and Cathy Stone, for the Swimming Pool project.

Funding for the projects is provided through the National Park Service's Centennial Challenge Program to leverage partnerships to improve visitor services, support outreach to new audiences, and reinvigorate national parks while forging connections with communities. Congress provided $15 million for the Centennial Challenge projects, which will be matched by almost $33 million from more than 90 park partners. The 69 projects total almost $48 million and are located at 63 parks in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

"As the National Park Service enters its centennial year in 2016, Congress and generous partners across the country are making exceptional investments to improve park facilities, enhance their accessibility, and help more visitors –especially young people –discover our nation's inspiring places and stories," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.

Park Superintendent Sarah Olson added, "we are so pleased to be able to implement these projects during the Centennial year. The large vegetable garden was central to the Roosevelts' family life and, when restored, will be at the heart of every park visit, providing fertile ground for visitors young and old to explore Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's ties to the land and their deep interests in ensuring an ample food supply for the nation."

She explained that, at Val-Kill, people will be able to experience the swimming pool as it looked when the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, their family and guests, used it for relaxation, fun and physical rehabilitation.Together the two projects usher in a second century of service at these national park sites.

"This National Park Service investment in the FDR Home and Eleanor Roosevelt's Val-Kill recognizes the important role they played in our nation's history for economic and social justice, as well as land conservation," said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. "This funding will help secure these local historic sites as important visitor destinations in New York, further preserving this historic location while helping bolster tourism and development in the area."  

Winthrop Aldrich, Chairman of the Roosevelt-Vanderbilt Conservancy, commented, "the restored Home Garden will serve as a reflection of both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt's conviction that meaningful work, a connection to the land, and strong, resilient communities are key ingredients for a more abundant life and a thriving democracy." Aldrich hailed the Home Garden as the inaugural effort of the newly established Conservancy which is committed to helping preserve the sites and the Roosevelts' important conservation legacies.

"The Val-Kill swimming pool is a central feature of Val-Kill's lively history, and the characteristic recreational activities that were so meaningful to the Roosevelts' entertainment and informal diplomacy style," said Manuela Roosevelt, Chair of The Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Partnership."The Partnership is thrilled to support restoring this sense of active use to Val-Kill's cultural landscape as part of our mission to help revitalize Eleanor Roosevelt's life and work through interpretative projects at Val-Kill, and we are grateful to Jim and Kathy Stone for making this matching contribution possible."

About the Parks

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site(est. 1944): preserves the life-long estate of the 20th century's only four-term, and arguably most influential U.S. President. Both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are buried in the Memorial Rose Garden. The site includes FDR's retirement retreatTop Cottage.

Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site,also known as Val-Kill(est. 1977): preserves the rural buildings and landscape where, by her own admission, Eleanor Rooseveltcame into her ownand worked tirelessly for economic and social justice.

About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 409 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at, on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.


Last updated: February 7, 2016

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4097 Albany Post Road
Hyde Park, NY 12538


(845) 229-7770

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