Shutdown of Lincoln's Birthplace hurting business in Hodgenville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shutdown of Lincoln's Birthplace hurting business in Hodgenville

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HODGENVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The federal government shutdown means national parks and monuments are closed to the public. That includes one of Kentucky's most popular historic sites.

Visitors to the Lincoln Birthplace National Park in Hodgenville are greeted by barricades and a sign that says the park is closed because of the government shutdown.

The Lincoln General Store is across the street from the park. Owner Regina McDowell says the shutdown is costing her business.

"We haven't had tourists at all. We've had a few people that have come in disappointed that they couldn't get in to see park," she said.

And it's not just one store. Hodgenville thrives on the tourism dollars that come from being Abe Lincoln's birthplace.

Iris Larue, curator of the privately-owned Lincoln Museum in downtown Hodgenville, estimates the park generates some $6 million a year for the local economy. 

"If it continues, it will most definitely have an affect in our local community," said Larue.

Connie Smith, her sons, and her parents from Idaho found the museum, after encountering the barricades at the national park.

"Well, I think it's a shame. I think it's an absolute shame," said Smith.

"Hopefully this will end quickly, and we'll be able to see it before we leave," said her father, Bill Remich.

Back at the Lincoln General Store, the regulars say they're just fed up with the bickering in Washington.

"They need to get their act together because we are all affected," said Don Woolett, a local minister.

"What I understand is, when this over they're going to get back pay. So, why don't they let them work? That doesn't make any sense to me. But, we're just country people," said farmer Wesley Pearman.

People in the Land of Lincoln have some down home advice for his successors.

"They need to just grow up and act likes adults and come to some kind of understanding," said Regina McDowell.

Lincoln said ours was a government of the people, by the people and for the people. But now, as his own birthplace demonstrates, the people are locked out.

Copyright 2013 WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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