CINCINNATI (TDB) -- The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, a $100 million-plus facility built partially with federal and state funds, has failed to win inclusion as a site listed in the National Park Service's Network to Freedom. Congress created the Network To Freedom during the 1990s as a method of preserving historic sites, plus supporting important interpretive and educational programs about the Underground Railroad. Twenty-eight of 36 sites that applied for inclusion were approved last month during a meeting at Georgetown College in Kentucky, The Daily Bellwether has learned.
Diane Miller, a park service official who coordinates the Network to Freedom program, said the Freedom Center filed an application that fell short of details. The museum is on the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati and is supposed to be a leading tourist attraction. So far, attendance has not lived up to expectations, and it has failed to stand on its own financially without infusions of government subsidies.
"It has to do with technical issues related to the application. It's not a sense that it will never get in. It's a sense it's just not quite, well, not yet. There are typically in any given round quite a lot that don't make it. Maybe next time.''
Miller said there are 203 historic sites on the list, along with 60 interpretive programs and 37 facilities -- which are museums or heritage centers, a classification that would have included the Freedom Center if it had made the cut. Miller said the Freedom Center can apply again in January.