Historic Hanford One Step Closer to Becoming a National Park - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Senator Murray Visits Hanford Historic Sites to Support National Park Legislation

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NEAR RICHLAND, Wash.-- Washington Senator Patty Murray wants her colleagues in Congress to pass legislation to create a Manhattan Project National Historic Park.

Thursday, Senator Murray toured several historic buildings on the Hanford site.

"It is a great opportunity for this region to really showcase what this community gave up many years ago," said Senator Murray.

Senator Murray made her way through historic Hanford buildings like the old Hanford High School that's now just a shell of a school and the White Bluffs bank that still has a locked vault with unknown savings inside.

And finally the B Reactor, already a national historic landmark visited by thousands every year.

Senator Murray is pushing legislation in congress to include several Hanford sites as part of a national historic park to preserve this important part of American history.

"Nothing is easy in congress as we all know but everybody is working really hard to get this done. It's really important to preserve this site and to really honor those people who gave so much for our country," Senator Murray said.

"We really need advocates for preservation. We're continuing to cleanup the Hanford site and preservation is an important part of that. It's not always at the top of the list in terms of priorities," said Mona Wright, Hanford Cultural Resource Program manager.

The national park status will not only protect the region's history, but it will also promote it's future by attracting tourism dollars.

"If it becomes a national park, the National Park Service itself is a great tourist industry and they will bring more people here and help preserve it in a really great way," Senator Murray said.

"We are preserving a piece of history that our children's children will enjoy and future generations," Wright said.

Senator Murray says that her father grew up in Kennewick and probably played basketball at the old Hanford High.

She says the House and Senate bills are awaiting action on the floor, but she is hopeful they will pass this fall.