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Big events planned for Sharpsburg in 2002

January 04, 2002

Big events planned for Sharpsburg in 2002



By JULIE E. GREENE
julieg@herald-mail.com


SHARPSBURG - The town of Sharpsburg has no major projects planned for 2002, but it will be far from a quiet year for a town that likes things quiet.

In late summer and early fall, the town will find itself sandwiched between the construction of a new bridge over the Potomac River and a major tourism event, the 140th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Antietam.

Drivers will still have the two-lane Md. 34 bridge available as workers begin building the new bridge upstream.

Maryland and West Virginia are splitting the $16.7 million total project cost.

The bridge is expected to be completed in the fall of 2004, said Jim Sothen with the West Virginia Division of Highways. It will have two 12-foot driving lanes with 4-foot shoulders and an 8- to 10-foot-wide sidewalk on the south side for pedestrians and bicyclists, Sothen said.

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The three-day commemorative re-enactment of the Battle of Antietam will be Sept. 13-15, the same weekend as the annual Sharpsburg Heritage Festival.

More than 15,000 re-enactors will recreate the bloodiest single-day battle of the Civil War on farmland along Rench Road, almost 10 miles north of Sharpsburg.

The 135th anniversary commemoration drew an estimated 70,000 to 100,000 spectators.

Visitors coming through Sharpsburg may be detoured around downtown as part of Main Street is usually closed for the heritage festival.

The year kicks off with the C&O Canal National Historic Park moving its headquarters from Ferry Hill along the Potomac River to a modern office building at 1850 Dual Highway.

The move is expected to start Feb. 19 and take at least a week, Superintendent Doug Faris said.

The 10-year lease for space at the Crystal Building will cost taxpayers almost $3 million, with an almost $4.3 million option for another 10 years.

Faris said he hopes to open Ferry Hill to the public in the spring with historic exhibits about the plantation. Work could begin this year to restore the building and grounds to one of its historic appearances.

Just west of Sharpsburg, work is expected to progress in restoring the former Antietam railroad station into exhibit space for the Hagerstown Model Railroad Museum.

Within Sharpsburg, the town will continue its annual traditions, holding the fishing rodeo at Town Pond this spring, the Memorial Day Parade on May 25, and the heritage festival in late summer.

The town will be in a "maintenance mode" this year, Mayor Sid Gale said.

The first block of North Mechanic Street will be repaved in the fall. Some playground equipment at Lonnie L. Crampton Memorial Park will be repaired or replaced and there might be some additions to the playground, Gale said.

For the sixth year, the town will distribute $18,000 to 279 eligible residents to help offset the cost of Washington County water and sewer, Gale said.

Finally, on Nov. 19, town voters will elect four Town Council members, including a vice mayor. The seats will be up for Vice Mayor Hal Spielman and council members Russ Weaver, Patti Hammond and Marjorie Jamison.

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