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Supervisors have decision to make on Munson Park

Lead Summary

Adolph Munson Park was once again a topic of interest at the Chickasaw County Supervisors meeting with a public hearing being held Monday morning.Interested individuals gathered to discuss the items located inside the buildings at Munson Park. The board wanted to make it clear that at this time there is no talk about closing down the park.Supervisor John Andersen talked about the work the task force had done in the past but that it had discontinued work with Munson Park lately because the structures contained items that had been given or loaned to the park that needed to be taken care of.“Families have been contacted if they would like their items back,” said Andersen.Any remaining artifacts are in the care of the supervisors.The artifacts have remained in the Munson Park cabins that are not climate controlled and are deteriorating.In 2014 the log cabin that was located at the park was purchased by and moved to the Old Bradford Museum.The museum also took many artifacts to their controlled facility to take care of the artifacts.Ron and Beverly Hattig attended the public hearing to voice their concerns.“My idea would be to not sell them,” said Bev Hattig. “Instead give them to some organization that can display the items.”She said selling is not an option in her opinion.Ron Hattig said he thinks the paper and cloth items should be taken out.“The other items are looking good,” said Ron. “If the items were climate controlled they would last longer.”He said he could see that something is eating the wood items the last time he was in the buildings at the park.Paul Hereid said he is for trying to keep Jacksonville alive with the park continuing to be there, open and having artifacts in the buildings.“The county put up a new sign for the area and we have held a fundraiser to help with improvements to the park,” said Hereid.“Everyone said ‘Don't lose this place’,” said Hereid.The fundraiser brought in about $2,500.The group had the park buildings open on July 4.He agrees that some things should be removed — like some old rugs and skinned animals that are currently in the buildings but would like to leave much of the other artifacts.Chickasaw County Naturalist Matt Crayne spoke of the group working to keep history of the area alive.“There are some documents and clothing that should be removed out of there that have seen better days,” said Crayne.But things such as saws and old school desks look the same as when they were placed in the building and, Crayne said, will look the same for years to come.“The buildings are pretty well sealed up,” he said. “We got a group willing to show the stuffChickasaw County Cemetery Commission President Marilyn Knight said she has been in the buildings which are in very nice shape but the books are getting eaten by bugs.She suggested they need to be burned because they are horrible and don’t smell the best.While Hereid said they have never have had a complaint, Knight said they have one now, from her.Knight said the glass things and wood things could probably be left alone.Carnegie Cultural Center Director Juanita Andersen said ultimately everything in the buildings is owned by the county supervisors and they have overall say over what happens to the artifacts.“Some artifacts have some historical value,” said Andersen. “In present state these values continue to diminish as time goes on.”Since the buildings are only open once or twice, removing the artifacts won't change the site as a county park, Andersen said in her opinion.The way she saw it, the board has three options: continue their process in moving the artifacts, reverse previous decisions and commit the funds necessary to preserve site or continue to “kick the can down the road again” and leave the problem to someone else.Upon reflection on Tuesday, Supervisor Tim Zoll said it sounded like most of the entities were willing to let go of the clothing and paper items and want the rest of the items to stay.Supervisor Steve Geerts suggested the paper documents be made into copies that could be left at the park and have the originals kept somewhere climate controlled.“I don't think it is the book itself that is as important as displaying what is in it,” said Geerts.The board also agreed it would be a good idea for the Friends of Jacksonville to use some of their funds to get an exterminator to take care of the buildings.Supervisor Andersen said he thought the public hearing was worth while and that is was constructive.He agreed that making a copy of the school book located in the school house and displaying it is the right thing to do.The next step is for the board to speak to the conservation board about options in moving the artifacts and the board will talk to the entities that need to let the board know what they want from the park so the board can approve it.“We need to do something before another winter goes by,” said Andersen.

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