July 16, 2008

Stafford Discusses Historic Site Plans

By Kafia Hosh, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.

Jul. 16--Stafford County officials are discussing how to turn a recently discovered historical site into a public park.

A subcommittee of the Board of Supervisors and county staff met Monday about the preservation of Civil War sites found in wooded areas of the Stafford Regional Landfill.

The Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board (R-Board) controls the landfill on Eskimo Hill Road. The 760-acre property is shared by Stafford and the City of Fredericksburg.

The county plans to preserve about 25 acres that include forts used by Union soldiers, two campsites and sandstone quarries.

County officials want to open the park to the public and tie it in to other regional tourism destinations.

"It won't be just local folks that go here," said Chris Hoppe, director of Parks and Recreation.

The challenge lies in creating access to and from the park without disturbing the land.

Supervisors Paul Milde and Harry Crisp agreed the park should be a passive recreational site with a trail system and some interpretive signs.

"The less you can do, the less is disturbed," Crisp said.

It also would minimize costs.

Funding for the proposed park could come from the R-Board's profits, which are shared by the county. The landfill will have a new revenue source this year from a $170,000 annual contract with Ameresco Energy Services Company. (The company converts landfills' methane gas into electricity.)

Protecting the Civil War sites at the landfill is just one of the county's attempts to showcase its history.

Stafford's preservation efforts recently were recognized by the White House.

On Monday, First Lady Laura Bush designated Stafford as a "Preserve America Community." Bush is the Honorary Chair of the Preserve America initiative which encourages community efforts to preserve the nation's cultural and natural heritage.

"I commend you for your commitment to preserving an important part of our nation's historic past for visitors, neighbors, and most importantly, for children," Bush said in a statement.


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