- Associated Press - Monday, May 9, 2016

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The federal government is picking up the tab to repair a monument to Missouri’s Civil War troops at the Vicksburg National Military Park.

The Mississippi military park where it’s located commemorates the 47-day Siege of Vicksburg in 1863, a decisive victory for Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, the Columbia Daily Tribune (http://bit.ly/1VQjLZw ) reported. The monument was dedicated in 1917 and was the park’s first structure honoring Union and the Confederate soldiers from the same state.

Both this year and last year, state lawmakers appropriated $375,000 to repair the monument, but it appears the money won’t be spent for the second time.

Last year, the state money couldn’t be used for repairs because officials determined the money came from the wrong fund and couldn’t legally be spent outside of the state. This year, the money isn’t needed because park officials won a $380,000 allocation of federal funding to go ahead with the work.

“The Missouri monument was very high on our list, and we were fortunate to compete strongly for the funding we got,” park superintendent Bill Justice said Friday. “It was our highest priority.”

In 2014, two Union and Confederate heritage groups started lobbying for money to repair the monument in hopes of holding a rededication ceremony around the 100th anniversary of its unveiling. Justice said the amount of attention the effort garnered helped make the work possible.

“The notoriety that they were getting down there, they moved the order of work and put the monument to the top of the list and they got to working on it,” he said.

Justice expects the repairs by the National Parks Service should be completed by the end of the year.

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Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, http://www.columbiatribune.com

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