New Manager at Fort Washington Describes Planned Improvements

Early 20th century view of Fort Washington (NPS photo)
Early 20th century view of Fort Washington (NPS photo)

After about a year on the job, the new manager of Fort Washington Park and other local units of the National Park Service described the status of the parks under her jurisdiction and plans for improvements at the PHCA quarterly meeting on September 25, 2012. PHCA mem- bers also reelected President Gwynn Roberson and other officers and board members, as well as approving a budget for the 2013 fiscal year.

The guest speaker at the meeting was Brandi Bradford, Southern District Manager for the National Capital Parks-East Region of the National Park Service. She explained that the Southern District includes Fort Foote, Harmony Hall, Fort Washington Park, and Piscataway Park.

Fort Washington Park is the primary unit in the Southern District. Dating back to 1809, the fort is located at the end of Fort Washington Road overlooking the Potomac. Bradford reported that the visitors center is being repainted, and fences and roads will also be repaired. Restoration of the Fort Washington structures is a continual project because of weather and shifting grounds. Restoration of the main fort is complete and the drawbridge is scheduled for restoration.

Fort Foote, constructed in 1863 as part of the Civil War defenses around Washington, is located along the Potomac River on Fort Foote Road. Bradford reported that the welcoming station is scheduled for repair.
The Harmony Hall red brick mansion was built in 1769 and is surrounded by 65 acres of land on Broad Creek. It is separate from the adjacent Harmony Hall Regional Center, which hosts local arts activities. Bradford noted that currently the Mansion is not open to the public and “historical documentation” is required before the site can be further developed.

Bradford provided business cards and urged PHCA members to contact her with question and comments at brandi_bradford@nps.gov or 301-763-4601.

In approving the fiscal year 2013 budget, PHCA members discussed the planned purchase of lia- bility insurance. Firm cost estimates had not yet been developed. President Roberson noted that liability insurance is a “safeguard” to protect association and board members from the liabil- ity of an accident at the Piscataway Hills Waterfront Park.

Several attendees expressed opinions on the moral and legal merits of purchasing liability insurance. Others expressed a concern that liability insurance would attract litigation. To pay for the added expense, Roberson proposed a $10 increase in annual dues. A motion was raised and seconded to omit liability insurance from the budget. By a show of hands the motion was not passed by meeting attendees.

Editor’s note: Thanks to PHCA Secretary Deb- bie Kutzleb for the detailed minutes of this meeting.