The Park Service announced the $282,253 grant to the Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation last week. It was the largest of the 19 grants, which totaled $960,000, for a variety of projects in a dozen states. The money will be used to continue work on …
The proposed interpretive center at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center site west of Powell received one of 19 new grants awarded by the National Park Service.
The Park Service announced the $282,253 grant to the Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation last week. It was the largest of the 19 grants, which totaled $960,000, for a variety of projects in a dozen states. The money will be used to continue work on the center at the site of the World War II Japanese relocation camp.
The funding will enable continued development of the center, according to Dave Reetz, executive director of the foundation.
“This is exciting news,” Reetz said. “I'm obviously pleased there was such good support for our project. This helps us achieve our goals of getting it on line.”
Reetz believes several factors led to the local effort receiving such a large share of the grant money appropriated by Congress, including the fact that the foundation has raised $2.6 million, most of it in private donations, and already has the funds required to match the grant in hand.
The award also reflects the progress already made on the project, Reetz said. Phase one, the outside shell of the center, is complete, and the foundation expects to advertise for bids on the second phase of construction in September.
During a two-day workshop last month, a group of individuals began working on a conceptual plan for the exhibits inside the center, and Reetz said the foundation board expects to issue a request for proposals to develop the exhibits by this fall.
“(The grant) reflects the fact that we've been working on it for a long time,” Reetz said.
Reetz said he believes the Park Service also saw the value of an interpretive center on the site of the Heart Mountain camp. Only one other camp, at Manzanar in California, has such a center.
Congress established the Japanese-American Confinement Sites grant program in 2006 to preserve and interpret the places where Japanese Americans were interned following the attack on Pearl Harbor. Congress appropriated $1 million for grants in the current fiscal year. The grants awarded last week are the first provided under the program through a competitive process. The grants provide $2 in matching funds for each $1 raised and in-kind contributions from groups such as the foundation.
More funding is projected for the next fiscal year, and Reetz said the foundation likely will apply for more grant money from that appropriation to help complete the project. He said the foundation hopes to open the center to visitors late next year or prior to the travel season in 2011.