These two granite chunks promise a future for the first presidential park

President Theodore Roosevelt’s monument has officially been “redeemed.” The fund in which donors promised to dig holes in the ground was pledged to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota, and is expected to be completed and turned over to the nation before the new year.

If I see no other news today, I’ll be really happy. #PayToDig It’s about time someone did something great for Teddy. He deserves it. — Barbara Thatcher (@barbara_s_amble) December 12, 2018

“We are ecstatic to announce that we will finally be able to unveil a special, state-of-the-art, visitors’ center at the Teddy Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in the spring of 2019,” Betsy Blumenthal, the group’s president, said. “Since we began our quest for funding, we’ve been amazed by the support of so many of the finest national parks and conservation organizations.”

The fund, which was started in response to what it describes as “public outrage and concern that the monument to Roosevelt would be replaced by a giant box of cubicles,” has exceeded its $1 million goal in three short weeks, reaching $2.2 million at its original deadline on Dec. 11. The first individuals to pledge money were musicians and art collectors. Over the past three years, the Theodore Roosevelt Education Foundation has been working on its campaign. As of Tuesday evening, its crowdfunding campaign was able to purchase only four blocks of stone to “determine where the project will go from here,” and land for two small kiosks.

New Information: We have secured funding & find available funding to begin site development and construction. We will pay forward the $1M we raised by giving the Theodore Roosevelt Federal National Park New Dakota Cemetery fund, and would like to give back to the state of #ND that gave us so much. #PayToDig – @TeddyParkFund — N.D. Teddy Roosevelt (@TeddyParkFund) December 11, 2018

The park is expected to be renamed for the 37th president. And although that’s been happening for some time, the fact that it will actually be constructed is a step in the right direction, the park’s president said.

It’s going to be a real pleasure to join the team and help build it. Teddy wouldn’t be surprised to see the project come to life! #PayToDig @TeddyParkFund @U.S. Park Service @NationalParkService @TeddyParkFoundation — Betsy Blumenthal (@BFutterley) December 10, 2018

“The record-breaking $2.2 million goal we achieved in just three weeks illustrates that Americans know, respect and share Teddy Roosevelt’s love of nature and the outdoors,” she said. “Not only will we finally have a more enjoyable visitor center, but we will also be able to improve the community by bringing great educational programming to enjoy the beautiful Theodore Roosevelt National Park, one of the most popular parks in the United States.”

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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