Money donated in bid to make Illinois site national park

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COLLINSVILLE, Ill. (AP) _ Officials in southwestern Illinois are putting more money into a bid to make an ancient historic site a national park.

The Cahokia Mounds is the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico. Archeologists say it was home to as many as 20,000 people in its heyday around 1100 A.D.

The Bellville News-Democrat ( reports the St. Clair County Board this week approved a $25,000 contribution to the HeartLands Conservancy as the group lobbies for the national-park designation.

County Administrator Debra Moore says that as a national park the management of the Cahokia Mounds would become a responsibility of the federal parks system.

Historians say a still-visible hill-like structure was once a center of the site with multiple villages surrounding it.

The property is already a United Nations World Heritage Site.

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