Burpee gets $277,000 in federal funding

Burpee Museum of Natural History and Discovery Center Museum recently announced the receipt of more than $277,000 earmarked for their expansion project. U.S. Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Egan) secured the funds during last year’s appropriation process.

The funding comes from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 2005 Appropriations Act. The “bricks and mortar” grant will help offset costs of construction, including architectural fees.

Manzullo and his wife, Freda, are honorary chairmen for the campaign. Of the $12.5 million goal, approximately $3 million has been raised since the campaign began 10 months ago. Construction is tentatively scheduled to begin in spring 2007, with the expansion opening to the public in 2008.

“I congratulate the folks at Burpee and Discovery Center for their vision and guidance as we prepare for the museum expansion,” Manzullo said. “This project will boost tourism in downtown Rockford and provide needed jobs for area residents.”

Discovery Center Executive Director Sarah Wolf said: “Congressman Manzullo is a tremendous advocate of this project. He and his wife, along with the many volunteers on the steering committee, are committed to meeting the campaign goal and turning our museum campus into a true cultural destination and improving the quality of life for the people of Rockford and the Rock River Valley.”

Lew Crampton, Burpee Museum president, added: “We owe our hard-working congressman a tremendous debt of gratitude. He has the vision to see what this project will contribute to our region in terms of enhanced economic development and quality of life benefits. And he has the ability to make the federal appropriations system respond to our needs in a way that will live on for generations to come.”

The campaign, Connecting Our Future, will expand both museums, create a shared exhibit hall, develop additional research and education programs, increase visitors, and build new public connections to the Rock River.

The joint effort will do far more than physically and programmatically connect the future of two stellar museums. It will also accomplish the following:

Draw people to Rockford’s downtown, the museum campus, and Rockford’s cultural corridor;

Strengthen the critical mass of cultural assets along the Rock River;

Connect people of all ages to new educational and entertainment experiences;

Provide educational, economic and entertainment benefits to visitors and Rockford residents;

Be a dynamic catalyst in Rockford’s renaissance; and

Help establish Rockford as a major northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin cultural destination—a destination showcasing JANE, the Burpee’s rare dinosaur find; other Burpee treasures; and the hands-on science exhibits and programs of Discovery Center, the nation’s No. 4 ranked children’s museum cited by Child magazine.

Tax-deductible campaign contributions to the campaign may take the form of cash; pledges over a one- to five-year period; donations of securities; tangible personal property or real estate; and bequests and other types of planned gifts. Significant donations will be recognized on a special campaign plaque. There will also be a limited number of new and existing museum areas to be named by those making larger gifts.

To donate, or for more information, call 987-0755.

From the August 17-23, 2005, issue

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