Superintendent's Corner: A Letter from Cindy MacLeod
Dear Park Friends and Neighbors:
This newsletter is the first of our quarterly efforts to communicate with you in this manner. I invite your comments in response!
It is also an opportunity for me to say thank you publicly to a fine, truly valued member of the park family, Mr. Jim Bell, who is retiring from the National Park Service in September. People don't come any better than you, Jim! We are pleased the you will be with us as a volunteer.
The years 1999-2001 are arguably the most exciting years in the history of the two national parks in Richmond, VA. Numerous activities are coming to fruition in these years. In chronological order, those activities are as follows:
The battlefield park is adding 700 acres to its current 765 acres through a donation from the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites. The property consists of significant portions of the battlefields of Glendale and Malvern Hill. The park's legislation, which restricts growth to donations and that prohibits the use of federal funds to buy land, has stymied protection efforts of valuable Richmond battlefield resources. This wonderful donation of undeveloped land was a giant step forward for the park and the people who will be able to enjoy the park for generations to come.
An associated initiative is the opening of a visitor facility at the Glendale Cemetery Lodge on Rt. 156 to offer interpretive services to amplify a visit to those battlefields. If that facility is anywhere near as popular as our expanded facility at the Cold Harbor battlefield, it will be a great success.
A new visitor center at the Tredegar Iron Works, developed with funding secured by the Richmond Historic Riverfront Foundation and gracious cooperation from the property's owner, the Ethyl Corporation, is scheduled to open in the late spring of 2000. This partnership effort offers benefits that the park could not achieve alone. The new space is larger than the current visitor center, will be located in a vibrant part of the historic City on the riverfront in a National Historic Landmark complex, and will offer stimulating ways to learn about the battlefields. Our beloved Chimborazo location will remain park headquarters and will be transformed into a special place to learn about Chimborazo hospital and the state of medical care in the Civil War.
The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site is ready to start on its final leg of restoration/development in 2000, pending congressional appropriations. Finally those buildings will all have their historic porches and will be completely rehabilitated to serve visitor and park needs. The project's construction investment is budgeted at 1.7 million dollars. A significant corner in historic Jackson Ward will be anchored by a much improved sight and increased activity. David Ruth has chronicled other major improvements in the park in his section of this newsletter.
I give my heartfelt thanks to an inspired, dedicated staff and to our partners in creating the vision and in crafting the results for Richmond National Battlefield Park and Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site.