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Museum wins aid for ship $189,000 will help build replica page 2
U.S. National Slavery Museum approved for federal funds to help build replica ship

Date published: 8/5/2005


The city zoning ordinance for the museum site limits structures to 90 feet. The council is expected to approve the permit Tuesday.

The museum is to be built on 38 acres within the Celebrate Virginia South tourism complex. The site is just west of Interstate 95, overlooking the Rappahannock River.

Last week, museum founder L. Douglas Wilder--a grandson of slaves and the nation's first black governor--said the facility will cost between $92 million and $100 million and should be finished in October 2007.

The application states that the museum has confirmed donations of $130,180 for the first phase of the slave ship project from two sources. The Jay Pritzker Foundation is giving $75,000; the PanAmerican-PanAfrican Association Inc. is providing $55,180. The federal program requires applicants to provide 20 percent of the project's cost.

Pritzker, who died in 1999, founded the Hyatt hotel chain and was well known for his philanthropy. Smith said museum board member and entertainer Bill Cosby and Pritzker were friends.

The PanAmerican-PanAfrican Association was created by Robert S. Pritchard, a renowned black concert pianist. Pritchard took Carter G. Woodson's idea of Negro History Week and expanded it in 1965 to establish Black History Month.

The transportation enhancement program requires applicants to provide proof of community support for their projects.

In response, museum officials supplied letters from four members of the Fredericksburg community--City Councilman Hashmel Turner, former mayor and museum advisory board member Lawrence Davies, James Monroe High School English teacher Shirley Cordell-Robinson and Silver Cos. Vice President Chris Hornung.

University of Mary Washington President William Anderson Jr. provided a "project endorsement resolution" dated Oct. 22, 2004, because VDOT requires that a local government or state agency sponsor applications.

The application also states that the following businesses have "pledged their support": Ultimate Pontiac Buick GMC Isuzu on U.S. 1, Union Bank and Trust, Engineering Consulting Services Ltd., Best Western motel of Fredericksburg, First Market Bank and Arlington-based U.S. Airways.

Last month, Executive Director Vonita W. Foster was quoted in various media as saying the museum had held public hearings for the community--another step required for the funding process.

Those hearings were held at the Salem Church Branch of the Central Rappahannock Regional Library in Spotsylvania. A hearing for the previous application was held Feb. 18, 2004. The hearing for the second application was held Oct. 26.

To reach PAMELA GOULD: 540/735-1972pgould@freelancestar.com

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