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Officials from former Army base take poll on museum

February 27, 2007|by TARA REILLY

Officials with the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army base are conducting a survey to gauge whether residents would be interested in a history museum on the property.

The base's owner, Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT), and the PenMar Development Corp. are seeking the information for a two-week period that began Feb. 21, according to a written statement.

The survey asks whether residents would support a history museum at the former base and if they would use it, according to a written statement.

COPT, of Columbia, Md., and PenMar have been talking about creating a museum at the base for some time. The museum would be in the former superintendent's house and possibly feature cultural, military and natural history of the fort, according to the statement.

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PenMar was created by the state in 1997 to redevelop the base, which the Army closed in 1998.

"Everyone is in general agreement that there needs to be historic preservation," PenMar Executive Director Richard Rook said by phone Monday.

Rook said PenMar was in the fact-finding stage.

"If (residents) don't care, then maybe the best thing to do is to have a static display in the community center," Rook said.

COPT is willing to provide the building and do renovations for the proposed museum, Rook said. If a museum were created, the goal would be for it to eventually be self-sustaining, he said.

The surveys are available at Cascade and Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., area businesses; post offices; the Blue Ridge Mountain Fire and Rescue Hall; the Blue Ridge Summit Free Library; and the PenMar Lakeside Corporate Center, known as the castle, at 200 Barrick Avenue at the fort, according to the statement.

For more information, call 301-241-4050 or send e-mail to prcanby@pmdcatlcc.com.

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