MLK Day ceremony at Liberty Bell won't happen this year due to shutdown

Antionette Lee
January 20, 2019 - 11:38 am
A ceremony that is held every year at the Liberty Bell on MLK Day won't be taking place this year due to the partial government shutdown.

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A ceremony that is held every year at the Liberty Bell on MLK Day won't be taking place this year due to the partial government shutdown. Efforts to raise money to reopen the park over the three-day weekend fell short. 

Jeff Guaracino, CEO of Visit Philly, says the group donated around $32,000 to help reopen the park between Christmas and the new year. 

They tried to do the same for this weekend. 

"People had run out of time and the dollars due to the holiday weekend. You had a Sunday, you also had a national, so costs were continuing to get high," he said.  

He also blames the impending weather.

But the organization is closely monitoring the impact that the shutdown is having on the Philadelphia economy. 

Joyce Walker of the Independence Historical Trust says the park generates around $300 million per year in tourism dollars for the city.

"We love our park. We love our park service people and we miss them, but we also miss our visitors and being able to show off Philadelphia," she said. 

She says though the numbers aren't there yet, restaurants in the area are suffering too. 

"Its already having an impact on businesses," she added. 

Walker says although the group failed to raise the amount to reopen for this weekend by the 24 hour deadline, they hope supporters will still offer to help if the shutdown continues into President's Day.