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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Act (Referred to Senate)

HR 2919 RFS 

106th CONGRESS 

2d Session 

H.R. 2919  

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES 

July 26, 2000  

Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


                                                         AN ACT 

To promote preservation and public awareness of the history of the Underground Railroad by providing financial assistance, to the Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE,  

This Act may be cited as the ‘National Underground Railroad Freedom Center Act’. 

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES. 

(a) FINDINGS-Congress finds that— 

(1)     the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (hereinafter Freedom Center) is a nonprofit  organization incorporated under the laws of the Senate of Ohio in 1995;

(2)     the objectives of the Freedom Center are to interpret the history of the Underground Railroad through development of a national cultural institution in Cincinnati, Ohio, that will house and interpretive center, including museum, educational, and research facilities, all dedicated to communicating to the public the importance of the quest for human freedom which provided the foundation for the historic and inspiring story of the Underground Railroad;

(3)     the City of Cincinnati has granted exclusive development rights for a prime riverfront location to the Freedom Center;

(4)     the Freedom Center will be a national center linked through state-of-the-art technology to Underground Railroad sites and facilities throughout the United States and to a constituency that reaches across the United States, Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and beyond; and

(5)     the Freedom Center has reached an agreement with the National Park Service to pursue a range of historical and educational cooperative activities related to the Underground Railroad, including but not limited to assisting the National Park Service in the implementation of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act. 

(b)     PURPOSES-The purposes of this Act are— 

(1)     to promote preservation and public awareness of the history of the Underground Railroad;

(2)     to assist the Freedom Center in the development of its programs and facilities in Cincinnati, Ohio; and

(3)     to assist the National Park Service in the implementation of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act (112 Stat. 679; 16 U.S.C. 4691 and following).  

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS. 

In this Act: 

(1)     SECRETARY – The term ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of the Interior.

(2)     PROJECT BUDGET – The term ‘project budget’ means the total amount of funds expended by the Freedom Center on construction of its facility, development of its programs and exhibits, research, collection of informative and educational activities related to the history of the Underground Railroad, and any administrative activities necessary to the operation of the Freedom Center, prior to the opening of the Freedom Center facility in Cincinnati, Ohio.

(3)     FEDERAL SHARE –The term ‘Federal share’ means an amount not to exceed 20 percent to the project budget and shall include all amounts received from the Federal Government under this legislation and any other Federal programs.

(4)     NON-FEDERAL SHARE-The term ‘non-Federal share’ means all amounts obtained by the Freedom Center for the implementation of its facilities and programs from any source other than the Federal Government, and shall not be less than 80 percent of the project budget.

(5)     THE FREEDOM CENTER FACILITY – The term ‘the Freedom Center facility’ means the facility, including the building and surrounding site, which will house the museum and research institute to be constructed and developed in Cincinnati, Ohio, on the site described in section 4 (c). 

SEC. 4.  AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.  

(a)     PROGRAM AUTHORIZED-From sums appropriated pursuant to the authority of subsection (d) in any fiscal year, the Secretary is authorized and directed to provide financial assistance to the Freedom Center, in order to pay the Federal share of the cost of authorized activities described in section 5.

(b)     EXPENDITURE ON NON-FEDERAL PROPERTY – The Secretary is authorized to expend appropriated funds under subsection (a) of this section to assist in the construction of the Freedom Center facility and the development of programs and exhibits for that facility which will be funded primarily through private and non-Federal funds, on property owned by the City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County, and the State of Ohio.

(c)     DESCRIPTION OF  THE FREEDOM CENTER FACILITY SITE- The facility referred to in subsection (a) and (b) will be located on a site described as follows: a 2-block area south of new South Second, west  of Walnut Street, north of relocated Theodore M. Berry Way, and east of Vine Street in Cincinnati, Ohio.

(d)     AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS- There are authorized to be appropriated $16,000,000 for the 4 fiscal year period beginning October 1, 1999. Funds not to exceed that total amount may be appropriated in one or more of such fiscal years.  Funds shall not be disbursed until the Freedom Center has commitments for a minimum of 50 percent of the non-Federal share.

(e)      AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS-Notwithstanding any other provision of law, funds appropriated to carry out the provisions of this Act shall remain available for obligation and expenditure until the end of the fiscal year succeeding the fiscal year for which the funds were appropriated.

(f)      OTHER PROVISIONS- Any grant made under this Act shall provide that— 

(1)     no change or alteration may be made in the Freedom Center facility except with the agreement of the property owner and the Secretary;

(2)     the Secretary shall have the right of access at reasonable times to the public portions of the Freedom Center facility for interpretive and other purposes; and

(3)   conversion, use, or disposal of the Freedom Center facility for purposes contrary to the purposes of this Act, as determined by the Secretary, shall result in a right of the United States to compensation equal to the greater of— 

(A)   all Federal funds made available to the grantee under this Act; or

(B)   the proportion of the increased value of the Freedom Center facility attributable to such funds, as determined the time of such conversion, use, or disposal. 

SEC. 5. AUTHORIZED ACTIVITIES. 

(a) IN GENERAL – The Freedom Center may engage in any activity related to its objectives addressed in section 2 (a), including, but not limited to, construction of the Freedom Center facility, development of programs and exhibits related to the history of the Underground Railroad, research, collection of information and artifacts and educational activities related to the history of the Underground Railroad, and any administrative activities necessary to the operation of the Freedom Center. 

(b) PRIORITIES- The Freedom Center shall give priority to— 

(1)   construction of the Freedom Center facility;

(2)   development of programs and exhibits to be presented in or from the Freedom Center facility; and

(3)     providing assistance to the National Park Service in the implementation of the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act (16 U.S.C. 4691).  

SEC. 6. APPLICATION.  

(a)      IN GENERAL – The Freedom Center shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such manner, and containing or accompanied by such information as the Secretary may reasonably require. Each application shall— 

(1)     describe the activities for which assistance is sought;

(2)     provide assurance that the non-Federal share of the cost of activities of the Freedom Center shall be paid from non-Federal sources, together with an accounting of costs expended by the Freedom Center to date, a budget of costs to be incurred prior to the opening of the Freedom Center facility, an accounting of funds raised to date, both Federal and non-Federal, and a projection of funds to be raised through the completion of the Freedom Center facility.

 (b) APPROVAL – The Secretary shall approve the application submitted pursuant to subsection (a) unless such  application fails to comply with the provisions of this Act. 

SEC. 7. REPORTS. 

The Freedom Center shall submit an annual report to the appropriate committees of the Congress not later than January 31, 2000, and each succeeding year thereafter for any fiscal year in which Federal funds are expended pursuant to this Act. The report shall—

(1) include a financial statement addressing the Freedom Center’s costs incurred to date and projected costs, and funds raised to date and projected fundraising goals;

(2) include a comprehensive and detailed description of the Freedom Center’s activities for the preceding and succeeding fiscal years; and

(3) include a description of the activities taken to assure compliance with this Act. 

SEC. 8. AMENDMENT TO THE NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD NETWORK TO FREEDOM ACT OF 1998. 

The National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998 (112 Stat. 679; 16 U.S.C. 4691 and following) is amended by adding at the end the following: 

SEC. 4. PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC SITES OR STRUCTURES. 

(a) AUTHORITY TO MAKE GRANTS- The Secretary of the Interior may make grants in accordance with this section for the preservation and restoration of historic buildings or structures associated with the Underground Railroad, and for related research and documentation to sites, programs, or facilities that have been included in the national network.  

(b)   GRANTS CONDITIONS- Any grant made under this section shall provide that— 

(1)  no change or alteration may be made in property for which the grant is used except with the agreement of the property owner and the Secretary;

(2)  the Secretary shall have the right of access at reasonable times to the public portions of  such property for an interpretive and other purposes; and

(3)  conversion, use, or disposal of such property for purposes contrary to the purposes of this Act, as determined by the Secretary, shall result in a right of the United States to compensation equal to all Federal funds made available to the grantee under this Act. 

(c )  MATCHING REQUIREMENT – The Secretary may obligate funds made available for a grant under this section only if the grantee agrees to match, from funds derived from non-Federal sources, the amount of the grant with an amount that is equal to or greater than the grant. The Secretary may waive the requirement of the preceding sentence with respect to a grant if the Secretary determines that an extreme emergency exists or that such a waiver is in the public interest to assure the preservation of historically significant resources.

(d) FUNDING – There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary for purposes of this section $2,500,000 for fiscal year 2001 and each subsequent fiscal year. Amounts authorized but not appropriated in a fiscal year shall be available for appropriation in subsequent fiscal years.   

Passed the House of Representatives July 25, 2000. 

Attest:   

JEFF TRANDAHL, 

Clerk.

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