In one fell swoop, a U.S. senator has done what a committee raising money for restoration of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial worked nearly a year to achieve.
U.S. Sen. Kit Bond has landed $100,000 from the Save America’s Treasures program for the King Memorial project. The Save America’s Treasures program uses grants from the National Park Service and the National Endowment for the Arts to preserve national monuments and other places of interest.
Bond, who has long had a reputation for funneling federal dollars to his home state, announced the grant on Thursday. The new federal money more than matches the $94,000 raised through private donations by the King Memorial Restoration Project Committee.
“I am proud to add my support to this tremendous grass-roots effort,” Bond said in a prepared statement. “We’ll ensure the memorial is a fitting tribute to a national hero.”
The King Memorial, which dominates the Stadium Boulevard entrance to the MKT Trail, is weather-beaten and needs extensive repair. It is the second largest memorial to King in the country and one of two in Missouri.
The restoration, which is slated to begin by Jan. 1, will be done by Russell-Marti Conservation Services of California, Mo.
Eliot Battle is co-chairman of the restoration committee and a member of the board of directors for the New Century Fund, which has worked with the committee to raise money for the project.
“I’ve always believed in miracles,” Battle said. “The gift from Senator Bond verifies that miracles happen.”