by TaLeiza Calloway
Efforts continue to preserve a historic monument commemorating the Sioux Uprising near Centennial Park in St. Joseph. Built by the Works Progress Administration in 1941, it 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 St. Joseph Historical Society expressed concern about the monument last year in a letter to the city. Concerns about the stability of ground support, as well as cracking, have been raised, according to minutes from an October 2011 St. Joseph Park Board meeting. New steps, a platform and mortar improvements are on the list of things needed to preserve the structure.
The city is researching whether or not the monument qualifies for grant funding under the Minnesota Legacy Amendment. St. Joseph City Administrator Judy Weyrens told city officials earlier this month she is waiting to hear back from the state grants administrator to see if the project meets the qualifications for funding. The estimated cost to improve the monument is about $25,000, Weyrens said.
Park Board Chair John Anderson said the board is working with the city and the historical society to move forward with the project. While city officials are still waiting on clarification from the state, Weyrens said the Park Board would like to move forward with improvements.