By Gary Newman A public meeting next Tuesday night, January 24th, will give area residents a clear picture of progress over the last year toward the Loess Hills Archaeological Interpretive Center as well as its historical importance for southwest Iowa. Featured speaker at the meeting will be State Archaeologist John Doershuk, a 34-year veteran of archaeological study and a staunch proponent of the proposed Center. The meeting will be at 6:30 P.M. at the Mills County Engineer’s Office conference room at 403 Railroad Avenue in Glenwood. It will also be the annual organizational meeting of the Center’s planners. Project planning has been underway for two years and the meeting “will include a review of how far we have come and the road ahead of us before construction can begin. The appearance of the state archaeologist attests to the project’s worthiness and to our progress on it,” said Wayne Phipps, current president of the Center’s 17-member board. “There is no substitute for knowing the facts when the Center comes up in conversation,” Phipps said. The Interpretive Center is envisioned as a $6 million to $7 million facility for the further study of the ancient Native American grouping known as the Glenwood Culture that populated this area about 600-900 years ago. It is planned to be on the edge of the 907-acre State Preserve established three years ago on the southeastern outskirts of Glenwood. Beneath its surface lies a vast number of earth lodge home sites of the Glenwood Culture. The Center is to be designed as both a research and resource facility for professionals and college and university programs, as well as containing features that will draw tourists, tour buses and other persons with just a passing interest in the history of Native Americans in general. “The Center will bring notoriety to the area and will be something of which residents can be immensely proud,” said Jean Jaskierny, board vice-president. “I can’t emphasis enough that people interested in additions and improvements to the Mills County area should plan to be at this meeting.” she said. The Center won’t be a museum in the general sense because archaeologists and students will be studying artifacts that have been and will be found on sites in the preserve. Displays will bring to life everyday scenes within the Glenwood Culture and the Center will also display some of the tens of thousands of artifacts that have been stored by the state in Iowa City. There is much to learn about these people and their links to later Native American tribes, backers say. The board is currently in the process of gathering $260,000 in matching funds necessary before the State of Iowa will release a $602,000 grant needed to launch and complete detailed planning for the design and content of the building. The grant was obtained through the Golden Hills Resource Conservation & Development non-profit agency office in Oakland, Iowa. The seeking of funds to transform the plans into a brick and mortar building will come next. Board member Rob Simmon heads up the board’s fundraising committee. The board has also established the informational website . This contains much information on the Glenwood Culture and will track progress of the Interpretive Center project. Pamphlets with more details will be available at the Jan. 24th meeting and the informative booklet “The Immense Journey” written by Lynn Alex in Dr. Doershuk’s office can be found at the Glenwood Free Public Library.
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