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Historic sites get reprieve

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- Three historic attractions slated to close July 1 because of state budget cuts have been given a reprieve at least through Labor Day, thanks to last-ditch fund-raising efforts by local communities and civic groups.

The Friends of the Kelley Farm have raised more than $22,000 to help keep the Oliver Kelley living-history farm near Elk River operating through the end of the summer.

Similar efforts have also staved off closure of the Comstock House in Moorhead and the Lower Sioux Agency near Redwood Falls, Minnesota Historical Society officials said Wednesday.

"We're very pleased that the communities have stepped up," said Jessica Hackner, society spokeswoman. "It's really their show of support that has helped us keep these sites open."

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The Historical Society decided to shut down seven historic attractions around the state after the Legislature cut its budget about 16 percent this year.

Last week, St. Paul Mayor Randy Kelly announced a plan to assure funding to keep the James J. Hill House, one of the seven sites, open through June 30, 2004.

The remaining sites -- the Forest History Center near Grand Rapids and Fort Ridgely near Fairfax -- could still shut down July 1, Historical Society officials said.

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