by TaLeiza Calloway
The uncertainty is over.
The monument located near Centennial Park is eligible for funding from the Legacy Amendment to assist with preservation efforts. The St. Joseph City Council voted 5-0 to apply for the funding May 17.
The estimated cost of the project is about $25,000. The application is due June 1.
City staff had been waiting to hear back from the grants administrator about whether or not the monument was eligible for funding.
St. Joseph City Administrator Judy Weyrens said the city is currently seeking updated quotes for the improvements that will be mostly structural. Concerns about the stability of ground support, as well as cracking, have been raised previously. New steps, a platform and mortar improvements are on the list of things needed to preserve the structure.
The St. Joseph Historical Society expressed concern about the monument last year in a letter to the city so city staff is checking with local companies to make sure cost estimates are still applicable before submitting the application, Weyrens said. The monument was tuck-pointed at one point but this will raise the base of the monument.
“It is certainly worth restoring,” Weyrens said.
Built by the Works Progress Administration in 1941, the monument stands at the corner of 2nd Avenue NW and Birch Street.
The WPA was started by a presidential executive order under the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of April 1935. Its purpose was to generate public jobs for the unemployed. It was considered the largest New Deal agency, employing millions to carry out projects including the construction of public buildings and roads. It also made possible many arts, drama, media and literacy projects.
The monument is much more than an aging structure in need of repair. It is a historical marker that commemorates the Sioux Uprising of 1862 in Minnesota. This year marks the 150th anniversary of the war, also known as the “Dakota Conflict.” It was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of the eastern Sioux (also known as eastern Dakota). It began on Aug. 7, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota.