Sequester impacts Philadelphia's historic district
INDEPENDENCE MALL - March 20, 2013 (WPVI) -- People from all over the world flock to see America's birthplace, but, starting this spring, many of them will arrive to find the doors locked.
Visitors who want to see the Liberty Bell or take a look inside Independence Hall will have to get there early this year.
There will be no extended evening hours after 5:00 p.m. during the summer months.
The park has lost five percent of its budget, thanks to the mandatory sequester cuts.
They're leaving jobs unfilled and cutting back on travel, training, and supplies - and closing early.
Some attractions won't even be open at all.
"It's unfortunate but I think there're some things that just have to be done. That might be one of them even though it affects a lot of people," Harleen Singh of Edison, New Jersey said.
3.6 million people visited the park last year. About 150,000 of them toured the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall after 5:00 p.m.
Some say the curtailed hours won't be a big deal.
"I think that's fair," said Roseanne O'Haloran of Canada, who added that if she can get there before 5:00 p.m. from Toronto, "anyone else can do it.".
In addition to limited hours, the park may also start looking a bit shabby as maintenance is deferred.
"Not immediately, but over time, we could start to see impacts on our museum objects, on our buildings, on our landscape, as there's deterioration," Jane Cowley of the Independence National Historic Park said.
Our founding fathers forged a new nation here. If the current crop in Washington can't forge a budget compromise, the park service warns things can only go downhill from here.
philadelphia, independence mall, local/state, david henry
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