Ft. Meigs thriving while other sites hurting

By Justin Michaels - bio | email

Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email

PERRYSBURG (WTOL) - Budget cuts are being felt and seen across Ohio, and the state historical society is no different.

A local historical hotspot, however, is weathering the storm better than most.

"Our parent company, the Ohio Historical Society, has gone through budget cuts," said Historic Site Manager Rick Finch.

Despite a State Historical Society loss of 22%, Fort Meigs in Perrysburg is seeing growth. "For our fiscal year, we're still up about 9% in visitation and revenue," Finch said.

Unlike other members of the State Historical Society, Fort Meigs hasn't had to lay off any employees.

To stay on the safe side, all full-time employees will take a one-week unpaid furlough in April, and the park will operate on an abbreviated schedule until May. "Come May 1, we'll be open five days per week with our full staff," Finch tells us.

He says Fort Meigs is working hard to keep their 9% growth strong. "The one big thing at fort Meigs is we've really tried to reinvigorate our programming here."

All the way from Texas, Michaela Dietrich came to Fort Meigs while visiting family here. A fan of history, she believes historical treasures like the fort must be kept alive. "Our children don't read history and understand history. I think with the economy, that is definitely one thing we don't want to go by the wayside -- our historical communities."

To keep Fort Meigs from going by the wayside, it may just be up to locals to take the reigns. The Historical Society is trying to bring all of the locations into local partnerships. The thinking is with local interest fueling these historic sites, they'll be more likely to survive tough economic times.

A local board called The Fort Meigs Cabinet is already in place and has an interested in taking over the management of the fort.