MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Harpers Ferry National Historical Park's visitors center wasn't designed to be a visitors center at all, and according to Park Superintendent Donald Campbell it could be the smallest of any such facility in the nation's park system.
"It's just undersized and over-utilized," Campbell said Wednesday, a few hours after staff for U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., announced that $1.35 million for expanding the facility was included in a spending bill approved by a Senate Appropriations subcommittee.
Part of the money, if approved, is expected to pay for new park signs and ongoing archeological work where the U.S. Armory once stood along the Potomac River, Campbell said.
Byrd's announcement, released by spokesman John Bray, also included $1 million for the Leetown Science Center in Jefferson County.
Bray said subcommittee approval was an "essential first step" in Byrd's effort to deliver the funding for the projects, and he indicated that the Appropriations Committee was expected to vote on the 2008 fiscal year funding bill today. Members of the committee that Byrd chairs were working to get all 12 appropriation bills to President Bush's desk by Oct. 1, Bray said.