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Governor O’Malley Announces BPW Approval Of Harriet Tubman Design Project
Visitor Center and Park Amenities will Interpret, Preserve Legacy of Freedom Fighter in Dorchester County
Annapolis, Md. (January 27, 2009) — Governor Martin O’Malley today announced Board of Public Works (BPW) approval of the design contract for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park, including a visitor center, memorial garden and trails in Dorchester County. The Park is being developed by the Maryland Departments of Natural Resources and Business and Economic Development, in cooperation with Dorchester County and area residents who have long sought an appropriate memorial to the freedom fighter.
“Harriet Tubman is a true American hero whose dedication and courage will continue to inspire children and their families to stand up for what they believe,” said Governor O’Malley. “This facility will connect community members and visitors to the rich legacy of Tubman’s life, her selfless leadership of the Underground Railroad, and her humanitarian efforts.”
Upon completion, the Harriet Tubman Discovery Center will serve as a national model and destination for sustainable and environmentally responsible building, and will provide a multi-sensory experience for an estimated 50,000 to 75,000 annual visitors. As a welcome and orientation point along the Underground Railroad Scenic Byway and national heritage sites associated with the life and times of Harriett Tubman, it will also connect visitors with the vast outdoor opportunities of the surrounding Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge.
"Because of Harriet Tubman’s worldwide recognition, it is great to have such a facility to remind the youth of today the history that was made from Dorchester County, Maryland to Albany New York to free slaves—a freedom that we take for granted today,” said Maryland Delegate Rudolph C. Cane. “I commend Governor O’Malley and Maryland’s U.S. Senators for their commitment to this project. This visitor’s center will be economically beneficial to the Dorchester County area, bringing in large numbers of visitors that love history."
The Discovery Center will also provide administrative headquarters for the federally proposed Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historic Park, and is expected to increase traffic and revenue in Dorchester County. Harriet Tubman Sate Park – the first State Park in Dorchester County -- was created in 2007 on the 17.3-acre Linthicum tract, which was acquired through a swap with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The Maryland Department of General Services (DGS) will manage the design and construction project for DNR.
"The Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park and Visitor Center will play a critical role in developing an authentic and sustainable tourism experience in Dorchester County", said Amanda Fenstermaker of the Dorchester County Tourism Department. "This center will memorialize the struggles and triumphs of a truly remarkable woman.”
The $2.2 million design contract approved today was awarded to GWWO Inc./Architects of Baltimore. The Minority Business Enterprise sub-consultant participation on the design contract is 30.1%. Of the 10 firms competing for the design, seven were from Maryland.
“We are especially pleased to note that a Maryland architectural firm and Minority Business Enterprise sub-consultants will produce the design for what will become a Dorchester County destination site for Marylanders and tourists from across the country,” added Governor O’Malley.
Since 2007, Governor O'Malley and the BPW have preserved more than 20,752 acres of natural areas for public recreation and watershed and wildlife protection across Maryland through Program Open Space (POS). Since its inception in 1969, the program has provided funding for acquisition of 340,463 acres of Maryland’s landscape. Most Maryland residents live within 15 minutes of an open space or recreational area funded by POS.
January 28, 2009
Contact: Ray Weaver
410-260-8002 office I 410-507-7526 cell
Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is the state agency responsible for providing natural and living resource-related services to citizens and visitors. DNR manages more than 449,000 acres of public lands and 17,000 miles of waterways, along with Maryland's forests, fisheries and wildlife for maximum environmental, economic and quality of life benefits. A national leader in land conservation, DNR-managed parks and natural, historic and cultural resources attract 12 million visitors annually. DNR is the lead agency in Maryland's effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay, the state's number one environmental priority. Learn more at www.dnr.maryland.gov.