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Statehouse's value seen Thursday

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

Do you doubt whether a lot of people are excited about the reopening of the Vandalia Statehouse? If you would have seen the crowd last Thursday night at the Statehouse, you wouldn’t have such doubts.

More than 300 people turned out for the program held to celebrate the 200th birthday of Abraham Lincoln at the state’s oldest existing capitol.

It’s not unusual for many people to walk through the Statehouse for events such as the Christmas Open House. But it’s been a long, long time since there have been so many people in that building at one time.

That kind of turnout shows that there are a lot of people who are interested in Lincoln and the history of the building where he began his career in politics and received his license to practice law.

Thanks to an anonymous donor, the state now has the funds to rehire an employee who will assist Site Superintendent Mary Cole and allow the doors to be reopened.

All that’s needed is the signature of Gov. Pat Quinn, who repeatedly stated while he served as lieutenant governor that he favored reversal of the action by the impeached Rod Blagojevich that closed state historic sites and state parks.

We’re hoping that Quinn is expedient in providing his John Hancock, so we can once again get on with the business of attracting tourists and planning popular festivals at the Statehouse.

rb