Government shutdown would have impact on West Branch, home of Hoover sites

The park itself would still be open to the public if the shutdown does happen, but the buildings would all be closed and events might look a little different.
Published: Sep. 29, 2023 at 10:12 PM CDT
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WEST BRANCH, Iowa (KCRG) - With the looming federal shutdown, some eastern Iowa nonprofits are looking at making some changes.

While people enjoyed touring the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site Friday, Mundi McCarty, the interim president of the Hoover Presidential Foundation, worried a government shutdown could cut down on how many people visit the site.

“Government shutdown is negative for tourism,” McCarty said.

McCarty said the park grounds would remain open, but the buildings on the grounds won’t be open. She said the Herbert Hoover Library itself brings in 38,000 people annually, many of whom are area school groups. She worried those people might not come if they can’t get the full experience.

“The students wouldn’t be able to come into the buildings because of the closure,” McCarty said.

Fewer people visiting the historic site means fewer people shopping downtown. Jessi Simon, the executive director of Main Street West Branch, said there will also be changes to scheduled events.

“We have our Fall Fest event planned next weekend, which we are right now making some backup plans assuming there might be a shutdown that goes over that event,” Simon said.

Simon said that the event brings about 500 people to town to shop. The event took months to plan, and she’s getting only a couple of days to come up with backup plans.

“There’s a lot of people that come to visit West Branch for the tourism and destinations for the national park, the presidential library and museum every year,” Simon said. “We’re hoping the government shutdown is short.”

McCarty said the shutdown will not have any impacts on the current $20 million campaign to renovate and update the library and museum.