Frederick Jobs and Historic Preservation Training Center Land Acquisition Act
STATEMENT OF TOM MEDEMA, ACTING ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, INTERPRETATION, EDUCATION, AND VOLUNTEERS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS CONCERNING H.R. 4494, A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO ACQUIRE LAND IN FREDERICK COUNTY, MARYLAND, FOR THE HISTORIC PRESERVATION TRAINING CENTER OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
NOVEMBER 9, 2021
Chairman Neguse, Ranking Member Fulcher, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior's views on H.R. 4494 to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to acquire land in Frederick County, Maryland, for the Historic Preservation Training Center of the National Park Service, and for other purposes.
The Department supports H.R. 4494, which would provide a permanent site for the Historic Preservation Training Center.
H.R. 4494 would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to further develop the Historic Preservation Training Center (Center) in accordance with section 305306 of title 54, United States Code, by acquiring land not to exceed 20 acres in Frederick County, Maryland, to support the physical space, preservation operations, training program initiatives, and workforce development capacity of the Center.
The Center, originally established in 1977 in Williamsport, Maryland, supports the National Park Service (NPS) through historic preservation projects and teaches traditional trade skills and historic preservation techniques through hands-on experiential learning opportunities. As carpenters, masons, woodcrafters, metalsmiths, and other traditional trade masters retire, the Center provides apprenticeship programs to engage youth and veterans so that these important skills are passed down and not lost.
Over the last five years, the Center’s Traditional Trades Apprenticeship Program has engaged over 170 youth and veteran interns in completing preservation and deferred maintenance projects across the NPS. Veterans make up over 25% of the interns, with over half of all participants being placed in NPS positions after completing their training. The Center also runs the National Career Academy for Facility Maintenance and supports over 2,500 current NPS employees in providing training for key occupations such as Water/Wastewater Treatment Operators and Heavy Equipment Operators.
The Center staff preserves some of our most treasured historic resources, from mooring quays at Pearl Harbor National Memorial and log cabins on the Blue Ridge Parkway, to stone repairs at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Since 1980, the Center staff and interns have completed approximately 1,500 projects in over 200 parks Service-wide. The teams worked on nearly 330 buildings and structures dating from the 18th through the 21st century, with the oldest being 312 years old.
While in Williamsport, the buildings utilized by the Center experienced a series of floods. In 1991, Congress directed the NPS to identify a permanent home. An NPS study team surveyed available sites and recommended Frederick, Maryland, and possibly Monocacy National Battlefield.
In 1995, the Center administrative offices were relocated to the Gambrill House at Monocacy National Battlefield. In 1997, the workshop portion of the facilities moved to a leased space at the Jenkins Cannery factory and warehouse, owned by the City of Frederick. The current lease with the City expires in September 2023, and the space can no longer accommodate the needs of the Center. We greatly appreciate the support of the City and consider them a valued partner. This legislation would support a continued partnership with the City, enable the NPS to attain an adequately sized space for operations, and establish a permanent home for this essential facility.
Chairman Neguse, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.