Sequestration: Weir Farm responds to cuts

Sequestration has been in effect more than a month, and as one of 400 national parks, Weir Farm National Historic Site has not been immune to the mandated federal budget cuts.

Park Superintendent Linda Cook said each park has suffered a 5% cut to its basic budget.

“Each park has a sequestration plan,” she said, “and we are in the process of carrying ours out.”

For Weir Farm, 5% amounts to $51,000.

In structuring the program cuts to satisfy the reduction, Ms. Cook said seasonal staff was a priority. “Hopefully the public will not encounter any reduction in staff,” she said, but “where they will see a reduction is in our weekend art programs.” During the summer the Take Part in Art program features two artists to encourage and assist visitors in sketching or painting on site as Julian Alden Weir would have. As a result of the cuts, there will be only one artist.

The other major hit affects the park’s publications and website. Design work done by a graphic artist in those areas will be reduced by half, Ms. Cook said.

In addition, a seasonal maintenance worker will not be rehired. “That will affect repairs to the roofs, porch and fencing at the secret garden,” she said. “It will be accomplished, but it will take twice as long.

“We were very strategic in our approach,” Ms. Cook said of making the cuts. “We looked to save money on travel, service contracts and IT expenses. We tried to preserve the visitor experience and find economies of operation.”

As of now, the major renovation project taking place, in which the Weir House, Weir Studio and Young Studio are undergoing interior and exterior restoration, will not be affected.

“The money for the renovation is project dollars, not annual dollars,” Ms. Cook said, adding she has not been notified of any reduction in project dollars. “I’m not seeing that in the project accounts this year, but I don’t have all the numbers yet.”

The restoration project is scheduled to be completed this fall.

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