Park service funds local projects
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 11:34

Visitor center, Trappe Road site get federal help

by Ben Boehl

Assistance for two local projects was included when the National Park Service (NPS) Chesapeake Bay Office announced last week that it will provide financial assistance to 21 partners and 24 projects with a combined financial commitment of $1,363,039.
    The North Point State Battlefield Design project will be receiving $96,433 and the North Point State Park Visitor Center Exhibit Design will get around $35,000.
    Suzanne Copping of the National Park Service said the $96,433 for the battlefield project is being used for the semantics and construction papers of the project.
    “The money is being used to fund the design,” Copping said.

The North Point State Battlefield is located at the intersection of North Point and Trappe Road at an empty field.
    According to the Dundalk-Patapsco Neck Historical Society, that field was owned by Mars Supermarket until the state purchased the property in 2006.
    Over the years, there have been proposals to use the empty property to build an extension of Trappe Road, which ends at North Point Road and restarts at Vulcan Road and North Point Boulevard. Motorists use Kimberley Road, a residential street, as an alternative.
    The historical society added that the main battlefields were actually closer to Charlesmont Elementary School and the surrounding area, but that the Trappe Road site is the only undeveloped part of the area and probably had some British and American forces cross it during the Battle of North Point in the War of 1812.
    The site upgrades are planned to allow visitors to tour the battlefield, with work intended to be finished by 2014, which is the actual bicentennial of the Battle of North Point.
    According to Copping, those upgrades include a parking lot that will house bicycles, automobiles and buses; a gathering plaza for visitors and a pavilion and seating and a universally accessible multi-use loop pathway with interpretive signage.
    First, NPS must come up with a design.
    “The design will enable the Maryland Park Service to make improvements to the North Point Battlefield,” Copping added.
    The North Point State Park Visitor Center will receive upgrades to the existing building to accommodate interactive exhibits about the War of 1812, Chesapeake Bay ecology and life on the peninsula from prehistory through the days of the Bayshore Amusement Park.
    Copping added that there are currently limited materials at the visitor center
    “The funding is going for developing an exhibit case and designing an exhibit area,”  she added.
    These two projects are among 24 projects funded by the NPS, which is trying to promote youth employment and stewardship programs, and public access and trail development in the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network and along the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and the Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail.