Interpretive Center Ideas Shared

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There is no shortage of suggestions on just how the proposed interpretive center will tell the story of the Glenwood Culture Native Americans, center proponent Wayne Phipps said this week.

Last week’s public meeting on center planning drew 51 persons and they offered more than 100 proposals for the center ranging from ideas on appropriate displays and the size of the center’s theater to landscaping and sufficient parking space for tour buses and motor homes.

Proponents hope to build the center on the northwest corner of the 907-acre state archeological preserve at the south edge of Glenwood. Actual planning of the center awaits completion of a yet-to-begin archeological survey of the five-acre planned site to assure the building would not disturb any archeologically significant areas. The Glenwood Culture natives lived in this area from about 900 to 1400 A.D.

If the site is given the green light, actual planning of the center can begin in earnest, said Phipps, president of the Loess Hills Archeological Interpretive Center Board of Directors. The center is envisioned as not only a mecca for archeological study but also as a popular tourist draw.

Thursday’s meeting, at the Glenwood Senior Center, was conducted by a team from the Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development agency, headed by agency coordinator Shirley Frederiksen.

Attendees were asked to put forward suggested features the center should contain, and Phipps said the more than 100 responses showed what he termed a “surprising” depth of knowledge of the project and of the nature of interpretive centers.

“An interpretive center is not a museum. This one will tell the story of the Glenwood culture in an interesting way,” Phipps said. He said Thursday’s suggestions are being categorized and will aid the board of directors in finalizing the layout of the estimated $6 million to $7 million center.

The approval of the site will also free the directors to seek approximately $200,000 to match an already-approved $602,000 state planning grant. Phipps said planning usually accounts for about one-fifth of total project costs.