MANNING: Already history-minded with a downtown and parks that pay homage in design to German heritage, the City of Manning is slated to be home to another gem: the first permanent Charters of Freedom display in Iowa.
Foundation Forward, Inc., an educational nonprofit organization that installs life-size replicas of the United States’ Charters of Freedom — the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights — in communities across America, is planning to erect a donated display park next to the Freedom Rock in the RV park north of the Hausbarn Heritage Park in Manning.
“It’s another tourist attraction,” Manning economic development leader Ron Reischl said. “It very nicely complements the nature of the Freedom rock that we already have there.”
The Manning City Council has responded favorably to the plan, and letters of intent are expected to be on the agenda at a future Council meeting.
There is no cost to the city, as the display is being donated by the North Carolina-based nonprofit.
“Our goal is to try and get it done before this winter,” Reischl said. “That’s aggressive, but we think it is doable. We are pushing hard for it.”
Ron Lewis of North Carolina, treasurer for Foundation Forward, has Midwest ties and recently spent time in Manning. He thinks Manning is a highly suitable location for the project.
“It was wonderful to be in your community,” he said. “You have a wonderful, beautiful community, and we are anxious to be a part of it.”
He stresses that the charter display is an active one.
“We stay away from the term ‘monument’ because these are living, breathing documents,” Lewis said.
Lewis said the display will give local people and visitors access to something they would otherwise have to travel to Washington, D.C. to experience.
“Most people never have the opportunity to experience the documents for themselves,” Lewis said.