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Lot at Washington Monument Park to be repaved

July 15, 1999|By ERIN HEATH

BOONSBORO - The Department of Natural Resources will oversee work to reconstruct a parking lot at Washington Monument State Park.

Builders from Mattern Construction Co. of Boonsboro are to begin work Monday. The company will regrade and repave the upper parking lot, install new pole lights and redo the landscaping around the lot.

Workers also will put in new walkways that will make the facilities around the parking lot accessible to people with disabilities.

Cost of the project is $160,000.

"The current parking lot has a multitude of problems," said Al Preston, assistant manager of the South Mountain Recreation Area, which includes Washington Monument State Park. "It's old, it's breaking up, there are tree roots growing under the pavement heaving it up in some places. (The construction) is long overdue."

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The parking lot holds about 10 to 12 vehicles comfortably, but after construction there should be room for about 25 to 30 vehicles, Preston said. The current parking lot does not have any lighting or handicapped-accessible walkways, he said.

The improved landscaping around the lot will feature new plants and a stone retaining wall, he said.

Construction should be completed by November 1999, he said. During construction, visitors to the state park will have to park in the lower parking lot.

Preston said he doesn't expect the lower parking lot to become overcrowded during the construction, and the only inconvenience it will cause visitors is a slightly longer walk to the monument.

"The new parking lot will make it safer to park and it will make it easier for people with disabilities to get to the monument trail and to the other facilities located near the parking lot," he said.

Most of the work on the park's original facilities was done by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s.

The Washington Monument was built in 1827. Boonsboro historians recently established proof, in the form of an old newspaper clipping, that the local monument was the first completed monument dedicated to the nation's first president.

About 7,200 people visit Washington Monument State Park each year, Preston said.

Half of the $160,000 project cost is funded through the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act, which is administered by the Maryland State Highway Administration. The other half is funded by the state, Preston said.

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