Local gift may save Statehouse

When the key turned in the door of the Vandalia Statehouse on Sunday evening, the state said it would be the last time the facility would be open to the public for the foreseeable future.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich had slashed the funding, and that was that.

But state officials don’t know the people of Vandalia – though they should be getting an idea of the character of the residents by now. Remember the effort to save the Vandalia Correctional Center? Remember the effort to build the first phase of the Kaskaskia College campus?

It now appears that an anonymous local benefactor has stepped forward to pay the salary of a second person who would help Site Superintendent Mary Cole reopen the historic site. (Cole, like other superintendents of shuttered sites around the state, remains on the job to oversee safety and well-being of the building.)

Some details remain to be worked out, but the generous offer by the local individual has to make a strong case with state officials overseeing the sites. We’re hoping that they see the need to have sites like the Vandalia Statehouse open – especially during the year in which we’ll be celebrating the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth.


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