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Park with presidents' busts to close due to economy

Yorktown, Va., is where the British General Cornwallis surrendered to George Washington, and it's where Presidents Park has surrendered to the recession.

Presidents Park is a place where visitors can walk among 18-foot tall busts of every American president - except President Barack Obama. The park was created by David Adickes, an internationally renowned sculptor and painter. Its mission is to "to promote a better understanding of the American presidency, foster an appreciation for our presidents as individuals, encourage civic responsibility and involvement, and provide educational opportunities of the highest standards."

The park's founder and co-owner, Haley Newman, says he was trying to raise $60,000 for the Obama statue, but the fundraising fell short and the park must close. All the giant heads will be sold, but I'd love to know who the buyer will be.

Newman told the Newport News Daily Press, "If we had been able to get the Obama statue, it would have made a huge difference."

The park was founded in 2004 and more than 350,000 visitors have walked its gardens -- enjoying sculptures of 42 U.S. presidents, from George Washington to John Kennedy on up to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Among other features of the park: self-guided theme tours, a tea room featuring replicas of gowns worn by First Ladies, and a replica of the Oval Office. There's even a Presidential Pet Museum nearby.

Visitors interested in seeing the presidents' busts or learning about 14 defining moments in our nation's history still have a little bit of time. The park will officially close on Thursday, September 30, 2010.

Learn more about Presidents Park.

About the author

Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

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