A letter from Lawrence Welk has sparked new disagreement over whether the 88-year-old bandleader opposes a $500,000 federal grant to spur tourism at the North Dakota town where the spent his boyhood.

The National Taxpayers Union released a letter Monday in which Welk says he "would have preferred that private funds were obtained for the restoration."The private watchdog group says that means Welk opposes the grant.

Not so, says the director of the project.

Gary Satern, project developer for the redevelopment project in Strasburg, said Welk merely meant to express his longstanding opposition to the use of federal funds to renovate the actual homestead where Welk was born.

The restoration of that farm, which has already been completed with private funds, is part of the overall project.