Johnson, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, helped secure the funding as part of the Transportation, Treasury, and HUD appropriations act for 2006, which awaits the president's signature.�
"Growing up in Vermillion, I can say I am not surprised it was given the distinction of being included in the National Register of Historic Places. The local leaders know well that downtown revitalization helps preserve our cultural heritage and can help with economic development," Johnson said. "Vermillion's aggressive pursuit of historic preservation
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makes it a model for other cities across the state.
"It was a pleasure and honor to help contribute to this effort by bringing this $500,000 earmark home."
The Downtown Vermillion Streetscape Planning Committee (DVSPC) has been the driving force behind this project. The project seeks to revitalize the area by facilitating the restoration of more aesthetically cohesive historical building facades, lighting, and seating.�
Other features of the downtown that are also part of the plan include flower planters, bike racks, and outdoor art.
The Downtown Streetscape plan is part of a broader historic preservation initiative that has been underway in Vermillion since 2000. As part of this renewed focus on historic preservation, the community developed cultural and historic preservation plans and surveyed its properties. Following development of these plans, historic downtown Vermillion was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 and design guidelines for fa�ade improvements were developed.� In recognition of its efforts, Vermillion was recently designated by the National Park Service as one of South Dakota's three "Preserve America Communities".�
Total costs for the Downtown Streetscape project are estimated to be $2.2 million.�
Community leaders who met with Johnson include Kevin Jacobson, Streetscape Project Committee chair; John Prescott, Vermillion city manager; Mike Carlson, Vermillion city finance officer; Lisa Ketchum, executive director of the Vermillion Area Chamber and Development Company; Vermillion aldermen Mary Edelen and Roger Jeck; and Streetscape project committee members Barbara Yelverton, Lindy Wipf, Linda Kogel, Sandy Dickenson, and Judy Clark.