Budget includes Battle Acre funding
Wednesday, 23 January 2013 14:03

The Maryland state budget includes $750,000 to make needed improvements to Battle Acre Park and other War of 1812 sites in Dundalk.
file photo by Roland Dorsey

Proposal should survive state budget process

by Bill Gates

Buried within the Maryland state budget is a tiny item that could have a big impact on the War of 1812 bicentennial celebrations in Dundalk.
    Titled “Capital Budget Funding for War of 1812 Historic Sites,” it would grant $750,000 to improving Battle Acre and other local sites.
    “It’s a huge win to have gotten this in the budget,” Del. John Olszewski Jr. (6th District) said. “Now we have to spend the next 90 days making sure it stays in the budget.”
    Of the money, $500,000 is to be used for the North Point battlefield, and $250,000 for other areas in North Point.
    The funds must first be used to improve Battle Acre, with any money left over being applied to other locations needing improvements.
    “The money will go a long way,” Olszewski said. ““It’s enough to get Battle Acre done, and move on to other priorities.”
    Battle Acre is on North Point Road, which has been designated a primary corridor of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail and Scenic Byway.
    The park and the North Point battlefield are considered important components in developing the National Trail and the War of 1812 bicentennial heritage tourism experience.
    The Battle Acre project includes paving and grading improvements to create a pedestrian plaza and improve public access to the park (including access for people with disabilities).
    The granite pillars and the existing wrought iron fence will be restored and relocated, benches will be installed and elements of the monument will be repaired and improved.
    As it now stands, Battle Acre Park has no sidewalk along North Point Road, nor is there a curb to offer protection from traffic.
    There is a drainage problem whch causes water to pool at the park entrance, and there is no pedestrian link to the North Point State Battlefield 300 feet away.
    The pedestrian access plaza/sidewalk will be constructed along North Point Road, and the granite pillars and wrought iron fence will be moved 12 feet back from the road.
    The pillars will also be re-pointed and placed in new foundations, while the fence will be re-configured with more openings to improve pedestrian access.
    New curbs, gutters and site grading will solve the water drainage problems.
    Baltimore County and the Department of Natural Resources will work to improve the connection between Battle Acre and the battlefield park.
    The county’s second priority is to make improvements at the North Point battlefield.
    Any remaining funds will then be used to design and construct improvements at other historical sites, including the Aquila Randall Monument; Todd’s Inheritance; the Methodist Meeting House; Bear Creek Park; the Joshua Barney Inheritance Trail; the Gorsuch Farm; and the Shaw House.
    If the funding survives the state budget review process, work will begin in July and is scheduled to be finished in April 2014.
    “If it’s still in there when we vote on the budget midway through the session, it should be okay,” Olszewski said. “If it’s included in both the House and Senate versions, it’s very unlikely it would be removed by the conference committee.”