COLUMBIA, Mo. • Missouri lawmakers have set aside $375,000 to make repairs to a Civil War monument at a Mississippi historic site, but state Department of Natural Resources officials say the money is coming from the wrong fund and can't be used for that purpose.
The Missouri monument at the Vicksburg National Battlefield needs stone and metal work, which heritage groups want to be finished in time for an October 2017 rededication ceremony on the 100th anniversary of its unveiling, the Columbia Daily Tribune reported.
Missouri's monument is the first — and for nearly 100 years the only — memorial honoring Confederate and Union soldiers who fought at Vicksburg, Miss.
Lawmakers appropriated money from the State Parks Earnings Fund, which consists of cash donations and revenue from contracts and concessions at state parks.
The DNR "doesn't oppose" efforts to restore the monument, acting general counsel Marty Miller wrote on Friday to Dale Crandell, commander of the Sons of Union Veterans Westport Camp 64 in Kansas City.
"However ... the State Parks Earnings Fund is simply not an appropriate funding mechanism for this project, which is located outside of Missouri on land neither owned nor controlled by the department," Miller wrote.
That decision could endanger the timeline for completing work before the centennial, Crandell said.
State legislators return to work on Jan. 6, but if a new funding source is needed, no money can be spent until after July 1 unless Gov. Jay Nixon requests it in a supplemental appropriation.
DNR's decision requires more explanation once budget hearings begin, said Senate Appropriations Chairman Kurt Schaefer, a Columbia Republican.
"I think it would be appropriate to find another source of funds if that is the problem," Schaefer said.
Missouri was deeply divided over the issue of slavery and which side to take in the Civil War. More than 100,000 men fought for the Union in federal and state units, while more than 40,000 fought for the Confederacy.
Missouri taxpayers paid $40,000 to install the monument in 1917.
"I think the legislature wanted to see Missouri represented well in that monument," Schaefer said.