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U.S. Bill Would Make California Park A Showcase for World War II History.

"U.S. Bill Would Make California Park A Showcase for World War II History. "
Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, California) (via Knight-Ridder/Tribune
Business News). (Oct 5, 2000): NA. General OneFile. Gale. Richmond Public
Library (CA). 15 Mar. 2008

Full Text:COPYRIGHT 2000 Contra Costa Times

Byline: Shawn Masten

Oct. 5--RICHMOND, Calif.--The U.S. Senate approved legislation Thursday to make
Richmond the nation's first showcase for the epic story of America's home front
effort during World War II.
If signed by the president, the bill would establish a national historical park
along Richmond's south shoreline to teach visitors about the country's
mobilization for war and the sweeping social and economic changes it brought.
U.S. Rep George Miller, D-Martinez, who introduced the bill in March, said he
expects President Clinton to sign it into law before the city's Oct. 14
dedication of its Rosie the Riveter Memorial at Marina Bay.
The park legislation was inspired by the memorial, a combination of sculpted
ship frames and engraved paving stones placed along a walkway the length of a
Liberty ship.
Thursday's news elated former Councilwoman Donna Powers, who first introduced
the idea of memorializing the wartime labor of the thousands of women, including
those who helped mass- produce ships at the Kaiser shipyards in Richmond.
"The nice thing about this project is that everybody found their own little
niche to see it through," Powers said. "When I go to bed tonight I'll probably
have a good cry."
Some supporters had feared that Republican-driven amendments would stall the
bill's passage in this congressional session, which ends today.
Miller credited its approval to vigorous last-minute lobbying by both Democrats
and Republicans.
"This is great. This is wonderful," Miller said. "It's one of the nicest things
I've seen happen in the Congress in a long time."
Miller applauded lawmakers for recognizing the heroic sacrifices that Americans
at home made to win the war, and the significant changes it brought to the lives
of women and minorities.
"It's really a very exciting story about the history of the Bay Area, about the
racial integration of America and about how a little town on the edge of the San
Francisco Bay responded to make a contribution to win World War II," Miller
"They fought that greatest war for all of us. This legislation will ensure that
future generations of Americans know what they did and honor them."
City Manager Isiah Turner also praised the park project for showing the value of
Richmond's industrial roots, too often cast in a negative light, and for keeping
its historic sites protected.
"Now we can have two celebrations on Oct. 14," Turner said.
The National Park Service picked Richmond to be its showcase for telling the
home-front story in part because the city still retains many of the relics from
its wartime shipbuilding industry, which was one of the largest in the nation.
The president's approval would enable the park service to start planning how it
will post signs and design tours through the city's collection of historic
sites, including Kaiser's Shipyard No. 3 and field hospital, the old Ford
assembly plant, two day care centers built during the war and Atchison Village,
built to house wartime workers.
It also would create a visitors center at the Ford plant to educate the public
about the civilian war effort and exhibit World War II memorabilia from across
the country.
The park will be operated under a partnership with the park service, the city
and the Rosie the Riveter Trust. The park service has estimated spending
$550,000 in the park's first year. Running it will require additional funding,
donations, grants and fund-raising projects.
"It's going to attract people from all over the country, if not all over the
world," Miller said.
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(c) 2000, Contra Costa Times, Calif. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune
Business News.
Gale Document Number:CJ121958938