Governor Snyder yesterday signed a 4-bill package into law making the Michigan Capitol a special State historic site*, with dedicated funding, management, and oversight. The main bill, SB 665, contains this statement of purpose, tying the building and grounds to Michigan's Civil War heritage:
"The legislature finds and declares all of the following: … That the grounds of the state capitol contain monuments that commemorate some of the most important events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and that serve as dramatic reminders of the sacrifices made by many generations to preserve the freedoms enjoyed by those in the twenty-first century, including all of the following: … The Grand Army of the Republic Memorial, the First Michigan Sharpshooters Monument, the Engineers Monument, and the statue of Governor Austin Blair, which honor individuals and units involved in the American Civil War. … The Freedom Tree, which honors all those captured and made prisoners of war or missing in action."
This step could have been taken before, but it was done so now and with complete bipartisanship. Coming during the Civil War Sesquicentennial could not be more timely.
The Governor's press release is here: http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-57577-318685--,00.html
*Special, in that it has been on the State Register of Historic Sites since 1956, and on the National Register, but this package provides a plan for its continued health and sustainability.