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TR library project gets national support

DICKINSON, N.D.--U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said the National Parks Foundation committed to "ongoing" support for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum at a recent hearing of the Senate Energy and National Resources committee.

DICKINSON, N.D.-U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said the National Parks Foundation committed to "ongoing" support for the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum at a recent hearing of the Senate Energy and National Resources committee.

Hoeven said in a phone interview that Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, personally gave his support at the committee hearing.

"He's somebody who can help us contact with people across the country," Hoeven said. "The fundraising effort for the Presidential library isn't just to get support from North Dakotans, but Teddy Roosevelt was a national figure, and (there's national support)."

Many details remain unclear about the Presidential Library and Museum, which is currently planned to be a project in two locations-one in Dickinson and one in Medora.

How the Medora location will tie into the nearby Theodore Roosevelt National Park is not yet clear, but Hoeven said the foundation's commitment is at least in part due to the project's connection both to Roosevelt himself, who founded the National Parks system and is the only person for whom any national park is named, as well as its proximity and potential connection to the park.

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"The National Park Foundation provides a margin of excellence that really makes a difference in terms of developing educational and cultural projects through philanthropic resources," Hoeven said in a press release last week. "We're working on a library for Teddy Roosevelt who ranched in western North Dakota before he became president, an experience that had a huge impact on his life. We're trying to put together a coalition to develop that library. We have approved state funding for it, and we're talking to the National Park Service and the Department of Interior about providing support for it as well. We appreciate the National Park Foundation's involvement, and we are look forward to their continued assistance as we pull this amazing project together."

Hoeven said that the national attention the project is drawing is valuable for securing the funds necessary to finance the project-the current proposed vision for the Presidential Library and Museum shows a $150 million price tag.

"Theodore Roosevelt National Park and Medora, this is our number one tourist attraction, it's a national attraction," Hoeven said. "Look at Mount Rushmore and what it's done for tourism in South Dakota. We continue to add to both the national park and Medora ... this is about a national, international attraction incredibly important to our state, not in just the heritage but in the economic benefits of (national and international) tourism."

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation recently moved to set aside a period of weeks to form a subcommittee to discuss the exact direction they wish to take the project as the possibility of more national donors has been floated. Hoeven noted that the Department of the Interior had also taken an interest in possibly supporting the project.

Attempts to reach out to the National Parks Foundation for further comment were unsuccessful as of press time. Bruce Pitts, the Library Foundation Board of Trustees chair, said in a statement:

"We deeply appreciate Senator Hoeven's hard work on behalf of a magnificent opportunity for the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt, and for the state of North Dakota. National interest in a Presidential Library worthy of TR is blossoming. We intend to get it right!"

Related Topics: JOHN HOEVEN
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