ASSATEAGUE – Assateague Island National Seashore will get a fiscal shot in the arm with the announcement last week of over $900,000 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding for a handful of projects.
Last week, the National Park Service announced nearly 800 projects totaling around $750 million will be completed with federal economic stimulus funds with the majority of the identified projects in the northeast region from Maine to Maryland, which will receive roughly $6.6 million for 27 identified priority projects in the state.
Included on Maryland’s list of projects is a combined $908,000 for two projects in the Sinepuxent District of the Assateague Island National Seashore. The list includes $460,000 for the installation of fire suppression systems at Assateague Island National Seashore and another $448,000 to rehabilitate all of the boardwalk areas throughout the Sinepuxent District on the island.
All of the projects on the list, including the two on Assateague, are long-standing priorities of the National Park Service and meet the criteria carefully spelled out in the Recovery Act. For example, they were all chosen because they address the Department of the Interior’s highest priority mission needs, generate the largest number of jobs in a short period of time and create lasting value for the nation’s park-visiting public.
Assateague Island National Seashore Superintendent Trish Kicklighter said this week the projects identified on the barrier island meet several of the criteria spelled out in the Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“At Assateague, the funding will be used to improve the visitor experience while addressing safety issues in some of the facilities,” she said.
U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar stressed the importance of utilizing the federal funding to shore up the national parks during a time when they need it the most. The projects identified on the list will also provide an associated economic boost in the communities where they have been identified.
“These projects are an investment in America’s future that will create jobs, stimulate the economies of the local communities and get our country moving again,” he said. “They are also an investment in telling the story of America to future generations through our national parks by conserving our awe-inspiring landscapes, our rich culture and our great heritage.”
Besides Assateague, other significant projects are listed for Antietam, Fort McHenry, the C&O Canal and Catoctin.