November 19, 2010

Stonehenge Receives $16 Million Revamp Grant

Stonehenge is getting a multi-million dollar grant that conservators say will help to restore the World Heritage site plagued by busy roads and cramped facilities.

English Heritage said Friday that it has two-thirds of the money it needs in order to help revamp the area around the prehistoric circle of stones.  However, the group said the funds probably would not come in time for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Stonehenge is one of the world's most recognizable sites, but it sits next to two busy roads. 

Stonehenge's visitor center is also inadequate, with vehicle traffic spilling out onto the grassy area nearby during peak hours.  There is only one outdoor refreshment kiosk to serve the 1 million visitors who come to see the site each year.

A $40 million plan to redo the site was derailed when the British government moved to curtail public spending earlier this year.  However, English Heritage continues to seek money from other sources.

Friday's $16 million grant is being awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which uses money raised through the national lottery to refurbish museums, parks and archaeological areas.

Renee Fok, English Heritage spokeswoman, said that the grant puts the group two thirds of the way to its goal.

Stonehenge was built between 4,000 and 5,000 years ago.


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