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Museum plan, near Harpers Ferry, is earning support, developers tell city

December 11, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Developers proposing a $250 million National Park Service Museum near Harpers Ferry, W.Va., have presented the idea to National Park Service officials in Washington, D.C., a spokesman for the project said Monday night.

The developers hope they can win a lease agreement with the National Park Service to pave the way for the museum, said Bradley Gray.

"We're in healthy discussions," Gray said outside a Charles Town City Council meeting.

Bradley made the comments after asking the city council for a resolution in support of the project.

Council members showed support for the project, but said they wanted to work on language for a resolution and review it next month.

Four firms which make up Stonewall Heights are proposing to build the museum on a 500-acre site that includes the former Old Standard Quarry, which was considered earlier this year for a controversial $250 million office and hotel project.

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The initial project came under fire because some thought it was too close to Harpers Ferry National Historical Park.

Stonewall Heights LLC is proposing to scale back the development of the site and enhance the park, while still generating economic benefits.

Developers plan to hide the museum by removing the top of a mountain, building the museum, and placing fill back over the structure.

Developers said they will also peruse an environmentally friendly "green" design that relies on wind turbines to generate power and "cooling wells" in the ground to draw cool air.

Gray presented the museum idea to Charles Town City Council members. Mayor Peggy Smith asked some questions about funding then asked Gray what the city could do.

Gray said the developers wanted a resolution in support of the project to show there is support for the project locally. Gray said all the county's towns have supported the project.

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