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Funding, contractor in place for restoration of Boot Hill

 

Boot Hill, which has been a Sidney establishment since the 1800s, has fallen into disrepair, but the Boot Hill Restoration Committee plans to work this year to patch it up.

The original Sidney Cemetery, otherwise known as Boot Hill, has existed since 1868. It was first created to bury soldiers of Fort Sidney. Mike Hartzler, a member of the committee met with the city council earlier this summer to discuss the budget for improvements.

"I know right now it's kind of a mess up there," Hartzler said, "because the weeds kind of took over this summer."

The committee plans to restore Camp Lookout, a house near the cemetery that the committee purchased. It also plans to restore the surrounding stone wall. Both of these will be large projects, the committee hired a local contractor to do the job.

"His plans are to take the stone wall down and dig new footings under this wall and pour the footings and rebar the wall and the steps and waterproof the back of the wall," Hartzler said.

The wall is in very bad condition at the moment. The estimate for this project is $10,000.

"This will make this historical wall more safe for the public for years to come," Hartzler said.

The group received $10,000 from the city last year as well, but only used about $900 of it. The remaining funds from last year will carry over for projects this year. With the additional $10,000, the committee plans to complete plastering along the windows of Camp Lookout as well as other maintenance on the inside of the building.

The committee plans to completely change the look of the area, to make it more friendly to visitors.

"Within the next two months, I can assure you, It'll be a really neat, attractive area up there around that house after he gets that wall done," Hartzler said.

The committee planned to start work on the wall following Labor Day.

Boot Hill did take in a small amount of revenue last year. Ghost tours at the site earned around $2,500 last fall.

City council members wanted to make sure that the money allotted to Boot Hill would go to good use.

"If we're gonna invest the money, that it not sit idle for the year, that it gets done," said city councilman Mark Nienhueser.

The council asked Hartzler to make sure it was updated on the progress of the renovations, to make sure the money is used this year.

"It'll give us a decent look up there," Hartzler said.

The Sidney Boot Hill Restoration Committee are all volunteers. They want to make sure Boot Hill, and the part of Sidney's history that it represents is preserved, according to the Boot Hill website. The committee was formed in 2006.

Boot Hill is located at 640 Elm Street, on the north side of Sidney.

 

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