U.S. Senator Roy Blunt last week asked David Bernhardt, the secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, for an update on the progress toward opening the Sainte Genevieve National Historic Park but didn’t receive much in the way of firm answers.
Bernhardt spoke on May 22 with the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, of which Blunt is a member.
Blunt noted that the National Park Service has acquired one property (the Beauvais-Amoureux House) and is working toward acquiring five historic properties that belong to the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Missouri as well as that organization’s Centre for French Colonial Life, which is projected to become a visitors center for the national park.
Blunt asked if he had Bernhardt’s “continued commitment to make it a priority.”
“You absolutely do,” Bernhardt said. “And I was told last night that everything is going swimmingly. I said. ‘If there’s a peep, I need to know.’”
Blunt also asked about any plans to hire and develop staff for the park.
“We’re going through that right now,” Bernhardt said. “I just brought in a new director of operations, David Vela, who you all know for his nomination process, which I hope will re-start again soon.
“He’s looking at that. We’re going to make sure that’s taken care of.”
Blunt asked about specific dates.
“I really hazard to give you a date on a recruitment,” Bernhardt said.
See complete story in the May 29 edition of the Herald.