Booker T. Washington National Monument could shut down again

Monument will close if government shutdown deal is not reached before Feb. 15

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – The Booker T. Washington National Monument reopened in time for Black History Month, but it may not stay open much longer.

The Franklin County monument, along with other national parks and monuments, closed throughout the monthlong federal government shutdown. It will close again if Congress and the president do not reach a deal to avert another shutdown by Feb. 15.

"Truthfully, yes, it's in the back of our mind," says chief park ranger Timothy Sims. "We're planning to keep moving forward and remain positive and hope that we stay open."

The monument, which stands on the site of the plantation where Booker T. Washington was born and enslaved, has already planned programs after the February 15 deadline date.

Sims said he does not want a repeat of the shutdown that closed the monument throughout most of January.

"It was a little bit difficult to be away the last time because we want to have the park open and we want the visitors to come and experience their park," said Sims.

Washington, best known for founding the Tuskeegee Institute, was born on the plantation in 1856. The site was designated as a national monument 100 years later in 1956.

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