Legislation is gaining ground to make the historic site of New Philadelphia in Pike County, Illinois a National Park.
New Philadelphia was an integrated town near Barry found in 1836 by a freed slave. It was the first town founded by an African American.
For the last 2 years, Congressman Aaron Schock has been backing legislation that would allow for a study to be done to determine the sites qualifications for national park status.
"I think there's more interest even on the senate side," said New Philadelphia Treasurer Pat Circle. "Senator Durbin is very familiar with it as is Senator Kirk, and they've been talking a lot with their colleagues. So, we are all hopeful."
That legislation passed a house committee Wednesday afternoon to approve Congressman Schock's New Philadelphia Illinois, Study Act.
If New Philadelphia is granted this title, Circle hopes to expand the current site.
"I would speculate that a building would go up and be manned probably with artifacts that have been found through previous archeological digs here," said Circle.
The study is the next step in the process of becoming part of the National Park Service, which would mean long-term preservation of the historical site.
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