Canyon County wants to spread out historical preservation funding

Credit: Zach Stotland/KTVB

Canyon County wants to spread out historical preservation funding

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by Jamie Grey

Bio | Email | Follow: @KTVBJamieGrey

KTVB.COM

Posted on August 30, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 8 at 2:47 AM

CALDWELL -- A new plan to spread out historical preservation dollars in Canyon County is stirring up some controversy.

Instead of a $90,000 historical fund going to just one group next year -- commissioners have decided to split it up.

For years the county says almost all of its historic preservation money has gone to one private, non-profit group.

According to county records, that group, the Canyon County Historical Society, has received over $1 million since 1997.

"We started looking at the code and found that it really is a fund that is being generated by tax dollars, by levy rate that all taxpayers are paying into. So we started looking into the other historic societies and how they are getting funded, and they weren't getting any of the funding," said Canyon County Commissioner David Ferdinand.

Middleton calls itself "A City with a Future," but as of now, city leaders say it's hard to showcase the city's past for the community.

"There's not a place where they can go, and that's what we want to create is a center where they can go, experience and have fun. Doesn't have to be long but we want it to be interesting for them so they have a very positive attitude and experience with they history," said Middleton Mayor Darin Taylor.

The city is asking for help converting an old Idaho Power building into a museum, so Middleton applied for a share of the county's preservation funds.

The Nampa Public Library, Parma's Old Fort Boise Historical Society, and the Notus Community Museum also applied.

The Canyon County Historical Society has been fighting the change that would reduce its funding, calling it a "plan to cripple" the society, and saying "'spreading the wealth' will most likely cause us to close our doors."

"We are not trying to close anybody down. We are trying to improve the impact of what we can do with the historic fund for everybody in the county," said Ferdinand.

"We really feel that it's not controversial. We want to share and be good stewards of the funds," said Taylor.

Final decisions are still being made on which historical groups will get money and how much.

The Canyon County Historical Society has not responded to our requests for comment.

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