- Associated Press - Monday, July 6, 2015

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Money set aside by Missouri lawmakers could mean repairs to cracked stone and broken bronze on the first state Civil War Memorial dedicated to soldiers of both armies, but state officials have raised concerns about the funding.

The Legislature budgeted $375,000 for the fiscal year that began last week to repair the monument for the state’s Civil War troops at the Vicksburg National Military Park in Mississippi, according to the Columbia Daily Tribune (https://bit.ly/1M4vKKN .

The move has been lauded by the National Park Service and by Missouri Civil War heritage groups, and some members hope to fix the monument before its upcoming 100th anniversary.

The stone and bronze monument was unveiled in October 1917.

“It is one of only two and the first monument to commemorate the sacrifices of soldiers from a single state who fought on both sides of the battle, and that makes it a very special monument to us,” said Bill Justice, who will take over as superintendent at Vicksburg at the end of August.

The Mississippi military park where the monument is located commemorates the 47-day Siege of Vicksburg in 1863, a decisive victory for Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.

But the project - intended to fix broken bronze work and discolored and cracked stone - could face hurdles.

Missouri Department of Natural Resources spokeswoman Steph Deidrick said there are concerns that the repairs might not be an eligible use of allocated funds. No further details were provided to the Columbia Daily Tribune, and requests for comment from The Associated Press were not immediately returned Monday.

The money to pay for repairs would come from the State Parks Earnings Fund, which includes money from park concessions and contractors. It’s meant to be used to administer state parks and historic sites.

Larry Dietzel, a Columbia resident and former commander of the Tiger Camp 432 of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War, said the state has a “rare opportunity” to preserve the monument.

“It is a really beautiful monument,” Dietzel said. “It needs to be preserved, and I hope there won’t be any more bumps in the road.”


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


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

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