Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Legislature approves $450K for Florida African-American Heritage Preservation Network

The General Appropriations Act (SB 2500) passed by the Florida Legislature includes $450,000 in nonrecurring funds for the Florida African-American Heritage Preservation Network (FAAHPN).

Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumna Althemese Barnes, executive director of the John G. Riley Museum, submitted the funding request to state Rep. Ramon Alexander, D-Tallahassee, in January. Alexander then filed a bill to seek the money (HB 2379). The final appropriations bill included the full amount Barnes sought for 2017-2018.

Back in 2016-2017, the FAAHPN received $400,000 in nonrecurring funds.

“FAAHPN serves as the largest consortium and professional association of African American museums and contributing historic sites in the State of Florida,” said the funding request by Barnes. “The overall purpose and the activities will be directly toward further enhancement and promotion of Florida as a destination through heritage education and tourism initiatives and revitalization of communities. The 30 Network museums/sites will receive direct grants to help support their historical and cultural programming, etc.”

The funding request stated that the FAAHPN plans to support 325 events and 90 exhibits that will receive about 38,653 visits from members of the public. The activities will also help create or retain 1,088 jobs.

According to the SB 2500, “From these funds, $50,000 is to be utilized for the James Weldon Johnson and Rosamond Johnson Birthplace Project (HB 3123).”

State Rep. Tracie Davis sponsored the bill, which originally sought $100,000 to establish the “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park” in Duval County. The funding request form said that the money will help create “a permanent Historical location to recognize the home site” of the Johnson brothers.

Gov. Rick Scott has not yet announced whether he will support this appropriation use a line item veto to strike it. 

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