For New C&O Canal National Historical Park Headquarters
Project Will Bring 70 New Jobs to Williamsport
Governor Larry Hogan today, with the National Park Service (NPS), Washington County, and the Town of Williamsport, Md., broke ground on a new, state-of-the-art visitor center that will serve as the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal National Historical Park Headquarters.
This groundbreaking is the result of a $15 million project with federal, state, and local cooperation that will provide a significant boost to the local economy, bringing 70 new jobs to Williamsport.
Governor Hogan was joined by U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin; National Park Service Director P. Daniel Smith; C&O Canal National Historical Park Superintendent Kevin D. Brandt; State Senator George C. Edwards; Delegate William J. Wivell; Williamsport Mayor William B. Green; Washington County commissioners; and members of the community.
“Today, we are making Williamsport a capital of sorts as we break ground on an incredible project to make this wonderful, historic Maryland town literally the epicenter of the historic 184.5-mile C&O Canal,” said Governor Hogan. “This is the kind of transformative project that only comes along once in a generation and it has taken years of collaboration, cooperation, and hard work by so many people at the federal, state, and local levels of government to help make this important project become a reality.”
Williamsport will be the only place in North America where visitors can experience every aspect of a working canal in one place, from a lift lock, to a lockhouse, a railroad lift bridge, a warehouse and coal basin, and a functional aqueduct. Maryland’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) provided significant financial support to the project, with DHCD Secretary Kenneth C. Holt overseeing the negotiations and planning with NPS. Washington County and the Town of Williamsport also played an instrumental role in ensuring the project’s success.
In addition, today’s groundbreaking marked the completion of a two-year, $10.2 million endeavor to rebuild the historic Conococheague Aqueduct in order to create the first watered operational aqueduct along the C&O Canal in 95 years.
The C&O Canal originates in Washington, DC and extends 184.5 miles along the Potomac River to Cumberland, Md. The canal was constructed between 1828 and 1850 and operated between 1831 to 1924, primarily to transport coal from the Allegheny Mountains to Washington, DC. Today, the park includes nearly 20,000 acres in a strip along the Potomac River with a varied geography offering activities including running, hiking, biking, fishing, boating, kayaking, and rock climbing.