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Examiner
  • Truman site shutters remain closed

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  • Parts of the Harry S Truman National Historic Site are likely to remain closed indefinitely.
    The deal Congress struck last month averts deeper federal cuts scheduled to have begun this week under the so-called sequestration of the budget, but it does little to reverse previous cuts. There’s no sign that cuts in service at the Truman Historic Site will be reversed.
    The popular Truman Home in Independence remains open, though only five days a week.
    “Certainly there was no indication from our regional director” that services trimmed last spring are coming back, Larry Villalva, superintendent of the Harry S Truman National Historic Site, said Thursday. He said officials are still sorting out budget issues after the action by Congress last month.
    The sequestration cuts took effect last March. Deeper cuts, hitting defense harder this time, were set to take effect Jan. 1. Congress avoided that, but the deal did little to reverse the earlier cuts. For the National Park Service, the cuts last March worked out to a 5 percent budget cut per “unit” – such as the Truman National Historic Site.
    “For us, that meant $64,000 that we were going to have to live without,” Villalva said.
    To save money, the Park Service cut three things at the Truman site:
    • The Truman Home, which draws about 32,000 visitors a year, would be closed on Sundays and Mondays. Officials have said there’s some evidences that visitors are adapting and just planning their visits for other days. The home belonged to Bess Truman’s family, and it’s where Harry and Bess lived during most of their years together. He died in 1972, and after she died in 1982, the house passed into the hands of the Park Service. It opened to the public in 1984.
    • The Truman Farm Home in Grandview was closed. That’s where Truman lived most of the years between getting out of school at the turn of the 20th century and when he headed off to World War I. It was open to visitors from Memorial Day to Labor Day, and the Park Service used seasonal park rangers, but those positions have been eliminated.
    • The Noland Home on Delaware Street across from the Truman Home was closed. It belonged to Truman relatives, and in recent years the Park Service had acquired it, renovated it and, in 2012, opened it as a “visitor holding station.” Officials used the space to tell a little more of the Truman story, and they said it served a valuable purpose: It gave visitors waiting for their guided tours of the Truman Home a place to get out of the elements, and it gave them access to a restroom. But it was open in that capacity for less than a year.
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