Budget battle may cut many of the usual summer programs at Natchez National Historical Park

Associated Press

NATCHEZ, Miss. - The congressional budget battle may cut many of the usual summer programs at the Natchez National Historical Park.

Park director Kathleen Jenkins said she's still hoping to put on the programs, The Natchez Democrat (http://bit.ly/XxCefJ) reported.

But the 5-per cent automatic budget cut that took effect March 1 came on top of a 3 per cent cut at the start of the current fiscal year, and the park already had vacant positions.

"We have issues with not being able to fill some vacancies that we need to fill, so the general reduction in funds will cause us to focus more on our daily operations and less on our partnership activities," she said.

She says the park will eliminate non-essential travel, cut its budget for supplies and equipment, and cut operating hours at Melrose or the William Johnson House.

The cuts also will delay work toward opening the Fort Rosalie site for the Natchez tricentenniel in 2016.

"We are going to move forward with stabilizing the log cabin and doing work on the Stietenroth house, but I don't know if I will be able to refurbish the interiors of those structures before 2016," Jenkins said. "We'll be generating some programming at those sites; the things that we can do on a shoestring budget, we will move forward with."

The park is planning to operate on its reduced levels at least through 2014, Jenkins said. It will be looking for volunteers and working to form a Friends of the Natchez National Historical Park group.

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Information from: The Natchez Democrat, http://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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