Bicentennial plans proceeding at War of 1812 sites

The Dundalk Eagle

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Upgrades, mural at Battle Acre among proposals

by Ben Boehl

Between now and September 2014, the area is going to be filled with celebration of the bicentennial of the War of 1812.
As the 200th anniversary of the Battle of North Point nears, historians are busily trying to get local battlefields and landmarks ready.
Upgrades are scheduled for sites including the Todd House, the North Point Battlefield and Battle Acre Park.

This wall at the Charlesmont Shopping Center, next to Battle Acre Park, should have War of 1812 artwork on it soon.photo by Ben Boehl

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Battle Acre will receive $450,000 in state funding, which was approved earlier this year by the General Assembly, and the Star-Spangled 200 Bicentennial Project announced in April that it will provide a $100,000 matching grant in support of the Battle Acre Rehabilitation and Improvement Project, which aims to renovate and improve the site commemorating the Battle of North Point in 1814.
Upgrades scheduled for the site include paving and grading improvements for a pedestrian plaza and improving public access to the park that includes access for people with disabilities.
New curbs, gutters and site grading will be added to help with the Battle Acre’s water drainage problems.
While much needs to be done to the interior and exterior of Battle Acre, the Baltimore County Commission on Arts and Sciences and the Dundalk Renaissance Corp. (DRC) plan to add some artistic personality next to the site.
The two organizations announced that they will sponsor an event at which an artist will paint a mural on the exterior wall of the Charlesmont Shopping Center building.

Amy Menzer, executive director of the DRC, said her organization is looking for an artist to complete the project.
Experienced mural artists must be over age 18 and must submit proposals by Friday, May 31, at 5 p.m.
Artists can visit http://www.dundalkusa.org/pub/DRC
jobs for more information.
After the deadline, the DRC will review images submitted by mural artists, looking for the one that best depicts a theme relating to the Battle of North Point.
Menzer believes the presence of the mural will enhance the trip to Battle Acre Park for visitors.
“It would be a relatively low-cost project, but it would have an effect,” Menzer said.
The DRC has plenty of experience with finding artists to design murals. Last summer, the group coordinated with artist Edward Williams as he redesigned the mural at Turk’s Cleaners on Dundalk Avenue.
Jay Doyle, project manager for the Baltimore County Department of Planning, said the idea of having a mural painted next to Battle Acre has been in the works for a few years.
“The idea of a mural was first mentioned by the Maryland Bicentennial commission back in 2009,” Doyle noted.
Fran Taylor, Chairman of Baltimore County War of 1812 Bicentennial Advisory Committee, believes the mural will add to Battle Acre and the surrounding community.
“The goal is to make it a  centerpiece and a place for people to ‘get away’” Taylor said. “I personally think it will benefit the community and will give a sense of pride.”
The owner of the Charlesmont Shopping Center, 3201-3211 North Point, LLC, could not be reached for comment, but Doyle confirmed he has been in contact and the company appears willing to allow the mural.
“I have been in touch and they’ve been cooperative,” Doyle said. “We’ve had a verbal agreement and are working on a written contract.”
If everything goes according to plan, the mural is expected to be completed before September, 12, 2014.
That day will mark the 200th anniversary of when regiments of the Maryland militia squared off with the British Army at the site near the end of the War of 1812.
“We are excited to make this project happen,” Menzer said. “We are happy that the [county] commission is funding the project.”
“Baltimore County is pleased to provide funding to the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation to support public art that celebrates Dundalk’s important contributions to the War of 1812,” Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement.
“The mural will complement enhancements to Battle Acre Park and serve as a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the historic battle fought here.”

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