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Archaeological Conservancy seeks to preserve land in Antrim Twp. business park

October 09, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- When the yet-to-be-developed Antrim Commons Business Park changed ownership earlier this year, Andy Stout began to worry greatly about what would happen to the land rich with artifacts hundreds of years old.

Stout, eastern regional director for the Archaeological Conservancy, was negotiating the transfer of about three acres for preservation within the business park. Stout continues to talk with the business park's new owner, but he does not know whether that donation will occur.

Exploration already has revealed that people inhabited the site since the early occupation of the New World, Stout said. The property off Interstate 81 also served as an early 18th-century farmstead, he said.

"It would include pottery, bones, stone tools from the prehistoric time," Stout said.

The Herald-Mail published a March 2007 story that stated Perini Industrial Properties Corp. planned to conserve almost three acres of the 200-acre site. The business park was designed for more than 4 million square feet of industrial/commercial buildings in Antrim Township, Pa.

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Stout said he spent two years in negotiations with the Perinis.

However, Baltimore-based Atapco Properties Inc. and Chesapeake Real Estate Group LLC of Glen Burnie, Md., announced in August that they purchased the property.

"It's understandable," Stout said. "This certainly isn't the first time with a developer that this has happened. ... Until you have ink on paper, you never know what will happen."

Representatives of Atapco did not return a message left last Thursday or messages left Tuesday and Wednesday this week.

Stout described the property as well-documented and mapped by the local chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. He said the land holds "a tremendous amount" of history.

If the Archaeological Conservancy received the land, the national nonprofit organization would treat its parcel as a research preserve with site visits available by appointment. Among the organization's archaeological sites are Fort Littleton and the Faust Avenue prehistoric site in Mercersburg, Pa.

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