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U.S. Rep. Adrian Smith introduced a bill this week that would reclassify Homestead National Monument of America as Homestead National Historical Park.

Smith, who represents Nebraska's third congressional district, introduced H.R. 7033, which would reclassify the Gage County park's name.

"The purpose of this bill is to ensure the cultural and historical value of this site is properly recognized in order to maximize its benefits to education, tourism, and economic development," said Smith in a Thursday press release. 

Diane Vicars, president of the Friends of Homestead, said the reclassification would be "a really big deal" for the monument.

"We feel it gives the site a better reflection that we are telling a story through the walking trails, through the museum, through the log cabin, through the programs we provide year-round," Vicars said. 

Similar attempts in the past to reclassify Homestead have failed, but Vicars thinks there is enough support for the current proposal.

"We think that the time is right and that we have the support," she said.

As far as a timeline, Vicars said it's unclear when action on the bill would take place but she said she would prefer it be sooner than later.

Vicars also pointed to other examples of National Parks that have been reclassified in the past "to better reflect" what those parks represent.

"So we think there's some precedence," she said. 

Homestead National Monument, which sits 5 miles west of Beatrice, was established in 1936 to commemorate the Homestead Act of 1862.

National Historical Parks are designated areas recognized for their historical significance. 

"We're excited," said Vicars. "...It's going to be a better reflection of the story that we have to tell." 

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