Posts tagged ‘Preservation’

Maryland seeks to buy 14 acres of land near South Mountain Civil War battlefield for $55,600

Civil War Cannons in Maryland

MIDDLETOWN, Md. (AP) — A Department of Natural Resources official says the state of Maryland is seeking to buy some land near the South Mountain Civil War battlefield.

John Braskey told The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown newspaper on Tuesday that the two parcels near Middletown total 14.6 acres. One is a 9.1-acre parcel atop South Mountain that saw action during the battle. The smaller piece has scenic value.

The land belongs to the Central Maryland Heritage League. The group says the state has offered a fair price of about $55,600.

The deal would require approval by the state Board of Public Works.

South Mountain is Maryland’s only state-run Civil War battlefield. Federal and Confederate forces clashed there on Sept. 14, 1862, three days before the Battle of Antietam.

State considering land near South Mountain State Battlefield

By ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

6:21 PM EDT, August 16, 2011

The state has offered to buy land near South Mountain State Battlefield.

The parcels are the 9.1-acre Wise South Field and the 5.5-acre Mahaffey Woods, said John Braskey, the Western Maryland regional administrator for land acquisition and planning for the state Department of Natural Resources.

The land belongs to the Central Maryland Heritage League, a nonprofit group based in Middletown, Md.

Executive Director Bill Wilson said the league is interested in selling the parcels to the state. He said the state offered to pay $55,575, a price he called “eminently fair.”

He said the league is awaiting further instructions from the state on how the contract will be drawn up.

The final agreement will be sent to the state Board of Public Works for its approval.

South Mountain State Park runs along the border of Frederick and Washington counties.

The Department of Natural Resources’ website says the Civil War battle fought there on Sept. 14, 1862, was the first in Maryland and a turning point in the war.

“The Union victories at South Mountain and Antietam (fought three days later) led President Abraham Lincoln to issue the Emancipation Proclamation,” the DNR’s website says.

Wilson said the Wise property, at the top of South Mountain, encompasses land around Reno Monument and is battlefield land.

The Mahaffey property is about a quarter mile away on Reno Monument Road and is part of the viewshed around the battlefield.

Both parcels have easements that don’t allow development.

Wilson said the Central Maryland Heritage League and the state have talked about a possible sale for at least five years.

The idea resurfaced recently. A July 21 letter from the Department of Natural Resources to Terry Baker, the president of the Washington County Board of Commissioners, says there is a “potential real estate acquisition” in Washington County.

The DNR contacted Washington County because the properties “straddle the county line,” the letter says.

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Inquirer Editorial: No dice for Gettysburg

Posted on Sat, Apr. 16, 2011

Philadelphia Inquirer

In the same week that Civil War reenactors marked the first shots fired at Fort Sumter 150 years ago, it was a welcome coincidence that Pennsylvania gambling regulators sounded the death knell for a casino near Gettysburg.

The decision Thursday by the state Gaming Control Board to grant a casino license to a Pittsburgh-area resort – rather than one proposed a half-mile from Gettysburg National Military Park – was the second time a Gettysburg-area casino was rejected. It should be the last.

Despite promises of economic benefit, it would be a mistake to place slot machines and blackjack tables so close to a battlefield that’s both hallowed ground and an iconic tourism destination.

Given the different audiences for a casino and the battlefield, it seemed unlikely that the casino would increase visitors to the historic attractions at Gettysburg.

Meanwhile, the business model of casinos is to keep customers at the gaming tables for as long as possible. That didn’t hold out much potential for new trade at area restaurants and the like. As for luring out-of-state gamblers, those customers will have other outlets as gaming spreads.

The license-winning Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, southwest of Pittsburgh, certainly fits the bill as a resort casino, with its championship golf course, airstrip, hotel, and restaurants.

The fact that the gaming board took months to pick among many competitors for this license may have aided preservationists, since the community opposition that built during the long wait made the right ruling on a Gettysburg casino an even easier call.

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