State Funding for Confederate Heritage
Jim Niedelman, weekend edition anchor of WNCT news, questions whether the State of North Carolina should be funding the preservation of the C.S.S. Neuse, the only ironclad commissioned by the Confederate government and the state’s largest historic artifact, in Kinston NC.
Niedelman quotes Brian Balfour, budget policy analyst with the Civitas Institute, who believes the state should not be involved in historic preservation. "If you move government from the equation, there can be a much more thriving non-profit sector that would, that would be stewards of cultural heritage."
What Balfour fails to mention is that the state has consistently failed to provide adequate funding for the Neuse until now, leaving it up to private organizations such as the C.S.S. Neuse Gunboat Association and the Friends of the C.S.S. Neuse to support preservation activities and also to construct the heritage tourism infrastructure in Kinston, including the C.S.S. Neuse II replica.
It has been recognized for years that without millions in funding, this one-of-a-kind historic treasure would completely deteriorate by 2025. Inaction by the state has allowed the deterioration to continue, and the price tag for preservation to increase. In 2005, the=2
0state only provided $30,000 of the estimated $1.6 million that would have been required to preserve the ironclad. In 2007, the state only provided $500,000 of the estimated $3.5 million required at that time. In 2009, the state has finally committed to support the preservation efforts, and the price tag has increased to $9 million. The state could have saved millions by acting years ago.
You can contact Niedelman to express your support for state funding for Confederate heritage at 3221 South Evans Street, Greenville NC 27834, by fax to (252) 355-8548 or via e-mail at JNiedelman@wnct.com
COMMON CENTS: IS THE CSS NEUSE MUSEUM PORK OR PRACTICAL?
By Jim Niedelman