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Harpers Ferry National Historical Park museum a 'very bold proposal'

November 01, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - The plan to build a museum to store historical artifacts next to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park is "a very bold proposal," the head of the park said Wednesday.

There are artifacts belonging to the National Park Service that the public has not seen, and the park service is very interested in working with a group of developers to build a place for them next to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, park Superintendent Donald Campbell said.

Campbell said he has not talked at length about the museum plan proposed by Stonewall Heights LLC but is familiar with the project because he attended a meeting last week in which officials in U.S. Sen. Byrd's office were briefed on the proposal.

How the museum plan would be worked out is unclear because that stage of the plan is "in advance of where we are right now," Campbell said.

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A group of developers making up Stonewall Heights LLC is working to purchase at least 500 acres, including the former Old Standard Quarry, to build an underground museum at a mountainside location.

A hotel and conference center are also being planned, as well as a tramway that would take visitors up to the museum from the parking lot on U.S. 340 that is used for Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, officials familiar with the project said.

Bradley Gray, a member of the Stonewall Heights group, is expected to address the Jefferson County Commission this morning at 10:15 to brief the commissioners on the project.

Gray on Wednesday declined to say who makes up the Stonewall Heights group or to go into detail about where the hotel and conference center would be built.

"It's so preliminary right now," Gray said in a telephone interview.

The developers involved in the proposed museum have options to purchase the property needed for the facility, Del. Bob Tabb has said.

What everyone is waiting on is whether Byrd will find federal money for the museum, said Tabb, D-Jefferson, who attended last week's meeting in Byrd's office.

Stonewall Heights LLC proposes to build the museum and lease it to the park service, Gray said.

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