Guest Post: Build the Theodore Roosevelt Library and It Will Be North Dakota’s Top Tourist Attraction

Archive Photo by Dickinson State University Theodore Roosevelt Center

This guest post was submitted by Charley Johnson of the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, Julie Rygg of the Greater Grand Forks CVB, Phyllis Burckhard of the Minot CVB, Terri Thiel of the Dickinson CVB, and Suzie Kenner of the Destination Marketing Association of North Dakota.

We are writing to express our support for the allocation of $50 million from Legacy Fund earnings as a 2-to-1 matching grant for the creation of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum (TRPLM) in the great state of North Dakota.

Under this proposal, every dollar set aside by the legislature from Legacy Fund earnings will be matched by two dollars from other sources, generating $100 million of new capital investment in a long-lasting economic and cultural boost to North Dakota. The TRPLM may be the best example yet of the power to create real and lasting legacies using Legacy Fund earnings for one-time capital projects.

North Dakota has a truly unique opportunity to garner and build a state-of-the-art Presidential Library and Museum in honor of one of the most dynamic, influential and world-changing presidents in the history of the United States.

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum would be destined to become the number one tourist attraction in North Dakota. Its presence would elevate North Dakota in the eyes of the nation and the world.

Only 11 states have the privilege of honoring one of our U.S. presidents with an official presidential library, and successfully completing this monumental effort would add North Dakota to this list of must-see destinations.

Only 11 states have the privilege of honoring one of our U.S. presidents with an official presidential library, and successfully completing this monumental effort would add North Dakota to this list of must-see destinations.

Increased annual visitors would help provide a needed boost to North Dakota small businesses and the hospitality industry and provide additional diversification to our commodity-dependent economy.

The State of North Dakota is in discussion with the Department of Interior, which oversees the National Park Service. The leadership at Interior has expressed interest in partnering to achieve a complete rebuilding of the current Theodore Roosevelt National Park entrance, aging visitor center and Painted Canyon overlook/rest stop, in conjunction with the state’s commitment to the creation of the TRPLM.

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum will be an educational, interactive, state-of-the-art facility designed to inspire our youth, our citizens and our visitors.

Given the unique co-location with a national park, the venue would set a new standard for presidential libraries and museums and build upon on the completed digitization work of over 50,000 TR-related documents, and the ongoing digitization efforts at the Roosevelt Center at Dickinson State University.

The stars are now aligned to move this project forward at a national scale.

Multiple significant and influential national partners have expressed their earnest commitment to assist.

The Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation, the Theodore Roosevelt Association, the Boone & Crockett Club, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Walton Foundation, the National Park Foundation, and The North Dakota Petroleum Council and many others have voiced their support for this project. Their participation and commitment will be accelerated and amplified by the state’s commitment. Additionally, we are fortunate to now have the critically important support of multiple Roosevelt family members.

The combination of strong support coming together for this project creates a window of opportunity like we have not seen and may never see again.

As we stand at the cusp of this new era, let us seize this opportunity for North Dakota.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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