Government shutdown may impact 400th celebration
By Blake Belden, Staff Writer
Oct 2, 2013, 12:49
HOPEWELL — Although the recent government shutdown might threaten to abridge the planned events for the commemoration of City Point’s 400th anniversary, Hopewell “will definitely still have the celebration,” according to City Councilor Christina Luman-Bailey.
Congress’s failure to agree on a spending bill to fund the federal government resulted in the furloughs of more than 800,000 government employees on Tuesday, including a temporary halt on the everyday functions of national parks and other public land controlled by the Interior Department.
Because the 400th anniversary celebration, scheduled for October 12, was originally designed to occur at the Appomattox Plantation, a unit managed by the Petersburg National Battlefield Park, a
prolonged shutdown would throw a wrench in the event’s geographical spokes.
Luman-Bailey hopes that the federal crisis will get resolved swiftly, but in the event that it doesn’t, is ready to take alternate measures to keep the celebration alive.
“Fortunately, we’ve been working very closely with the Park Service all along. ... We’ll have to really make some adjustments on where [the events will be held] and some of the participants won’t be able to participate because we’re doing it through the Park Service,” Luman-Bailey said.
Certain participants that would be exempt due to the shutdown include the Royal Artillery from Yorktown and Julie Steele, with the Petersburg National Battlefield, who was planning on giving a historical lecture, among others. As of Tuesday afternoon, Luman-Bailey was unsure whether or not the shutdown would keep the Fort Lee Band from playing.
Military officers are still getting paid during this shutdown, but Luman-Bailey could not solidify the Fort Lee Band’s involvement because it’s difficult to get in touch with certain personnel who are not allowed to work or use their computers during this time.
However, if the Fort Lee Band is not able to perform, the Petersburg Symphony is not federally funded and will still be able to guarantee a concert, Luman-Bailey added.
Mary Calos, with the Four Centuries Committee, who is helping organize the anniversary, said that there are plenty of locations in the district that the day’s events can be relocated to if necessary.
“We believe it will be beautifully located,” she said.
On Tuesday afternoon, Calos said she would be working on revisions to the schedule later that night, and that the new locations and events will be released at a later time if necessary.
“We have more than enough events,” Calos said, assuring that the absence of some scheduled events will not be enough to ruin the big picture celebration.
Luman-Bailey said the 400th anniversary event has been in the works since January, and that the timing is an unfortunate obstacle after all of the National Park Service’s hard work.
“We really hope we can celebrate with them and they’ll be part of it and be there to enjoy the fruits of their labor,” she said.