- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 5, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - In a story Jan. 30 about New Mexico’s effort to sell the Fort Bayard national historic landmark, The Associated Press reported erroneously the outcome of the U.S. military’s campaign to capture Geronimo. The Apache warrior surrendered; he was not captured.

A corrected version of the story is below:

NM proposes sale of national historic landmark

With preservation funds scarce across US, New Mexico seeks bidders for historic Fort Bayard


Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - A Western outpost made famous by the Buffalo Soldiers and the U.S. military’s campaign to capture Geronimo is up for sale, one of a number of landmarks nationwide facing the wrecking ball amid tight budgets and a shift in Washington about what history is worth saving.

Abandoned now, Fort Bayard has become a drain on New Mexico’s coffers and the state is desperate for ideas as historic preservation has lost funding under the Obama administration.

“It’s not good. We see this as a much larger comment on how we as a country want to tell our story and reflect our priorities,” said Beth Wiedower, a senior field officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

With most large-scale preservation efforts, it’s not hard for the cost to outweigh sentimentalism. It’s no different in southwestern New Mexico, where the community is split over whether some of Fort Bayard’s buildings need to be leveled to make way for fresh economic development.

“Some are pretty adamant about preserving the whole property and then there are others who ask why tax dollars are being spent to maintain it,” said Rep. Rudy Martinez. “Those are the questions coming up. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? We don’t know.”

Historic preservation was championed during the Clinton and Bush years, first with Hillary Clinton’s founding of the Save America’s Treasures program and later through Laura Bush’s support for a program focused on preserving the country’s cultural and natural heritage.

However, the Obama administration pointed to the two programs for elimination in 2010, saying the benefits were unclear.

In the last three years, Congress helped bring an end to Save America’s Treasures, which had leveraged some $377 million of private and government funding for hundreds of projects, including the restoration of the Star-Spangled Banner and Rosa Parks’ bus.

And the grants awarded annually by the National Park Service for historic preservation are a fraction of what they once were, leaving communities with little other than a patchwork of tax credits to entice developers to give historic properties a second chance.

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