Land should not be swapped for a sta­dium

The Calvert Recorder - - Community Forum - Audrey Scan­lan-Teller, Mid­dle­town The writer is vice pres­i­dent of the Cen­tral Mary­land Her­itage League.

The Cen­tral Mary­land Her­itage League is a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that ad­vo­cates for the con­ser­va­tion and stew­ard­ship of South Moun­tain bat­tle­field in Washington County. We are con­cerned by a non-bind­ing agree­ment by Gov. Larry Ho­gan (R) with the U.S. Depart­ment of the In­te­rior to ex­change 2,481 acres in South Moun­tain State Bat­tle­field for 512 acres at Oxon Cove Na­tional Park in Prince George’s County, where a sta­dium for the Washington Red­skins is pro­posed to be built.

The acreage in Western Mary­land that would be given to the Na­tional Park Ser­vice cur­rently is pre­served bat­tle­field land be­long­ing to the state as South Moun­tain State Bat­tle­field. The South Moun­tain State Bat­tle­field al­ready is do­ing an ex­cel­lent job of pre­serv­ing, car­ing for and in­ter­pret­ing the site. There are three newly ren­o­vated mu­seum and vis­i­tor cen­ters in the park that are staffed sea­son­ally by the state, in­ter­pre­tive trails and reg­u­larly sched­uled liv­ing his­tory pro­grams. If the NPS takes over the site, state em­ploy­ees would lose their jobs.

The NPS al­ready has a main­te­nance back­log in the mil­lions of dol­lars that has ex­isted for decades. How can the NPS take on the ad­di­tional acreage and the prop­erty man­age­ment re­spon­si­bil­i­ties that would come with the ac­qui­si­tion of South Moun­tain State Bat­tle­field with­out sig­nif­i­cant ad­di­tional fund­ing? Where will the ad­di­tional fund­ing to in­cor­po­rate, man­age, main­tain, po­lice and in­ter­pret the new area come from?

The Cen­tral Mary­land Her­itage League is con­cerned that should the park be given to the NPS, South Moun­tain bat­tle­field will be moth­balled by the NPS be­cause of lack of fund­ing, leav­ing the story of the bat­tle re­sult­ing in more than 5,000 ca­su­al­ties un­told, and all the state and pri­vate fund­ing and un­told hours of ef­fort that went into mak­ing the park what it is to­day will be lost.

Mary­land al­ready has two pro­fes­sional foot­ball sta­di­ums. We do not need an­other new sta­dium to be built on what is now un­de­vel­oped green space in Prince George’s County. Oxon Cove is a green oa­sis and farm mu­seum in an area al­ready burst­ing with de­vel­op­ment. It is a lim­ited re­source that should be pre­served and en­joyed by cit­i­zens.

Leave the Red­skins at FedEx Field and South Moun­tain State Bat­tle­field in the hands of the state, which has man­aged it well all these years. Let NPS con­tinue to pro­vide a green oa­sis at Oxon Cove and not add to the al­ready thin re­sources of the NPS. Gov­er­nor Ho­gan needs to let this one go. The sta­tus quo is what is best for all con­cerned.

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