After the Sesquicentennial?
Jennifer Buske has written an article about the area plans for the Sesquicentennial for the Washington Post entitled “As Civil War anniversary nears, Manassas sees a historic opportunity.” In the Friday the 13th article she writes what begins as an ode to deceased event planner Creston Owen and takes us though the history of the arriving at the Sesquicentennial. Included in the article is a comparison between the Manassas Battlefield and Gettysburg.
Any attempts to compare the two battlefields ended about the time of the battles themselves. Manassas is not Gettysburg and never will be, based pretty much on location, location, location, both then and now. Gettysburg pretty much is a dedicated battlefield. Manassas is a suburb of D.C. And here is the gist of the problem.
According to the Washington Post:
Playing off the excitement of the sesquicentennial, Corey A. Stewart, the Board of County Supervisors chairman, said he wants to begin branding Prince William as a military history corridor where people can stop at the battlefield, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the future American Wartime Museum. That attraction is scheduled to open in 2014 and cover every era of war from World War I to Iraq and Afghanistan.
He said the county is also working to create what Gettysburg has: a Civil War-era town. There is an undeveloped strip outside the battlefield that the county envisions turning into a town center featuring period architecture and shops.
“There is a lot of pressure on the July event, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity we need to take advantage of,” Stewart said. “Until a year ago, we hadn’t done a good job marketing the county as a tourist destination. But that is about to change. I hope this is the beginning of the rebirth of tourism here.”
Undeveloped strip? Are Corey Stewart’s eyes beginning to shine over the U word? (Undeveloped) Settle down there, Corey. Accomplishing this development debacle is going to take a little more than promising the Grizzlies some football fields. Born-again tourism is not going to be the order of the day along the Battlefield corridors if commuters or residents have anything to say about it.
No one is taking away from the events of the Sesquicentennial. Hopefully, everything will go off without a hitch and that event planners have made provisions for our awful traffic situation during the festivities. Mistakes made 50 years ago will not be repeated. However, traffic and transportation issues in general are our number one problem in this area , and will continue to be. How do we move people on a inadequate road system?
Prince William County as a military history corridor is laughable. Where is this Civil War-era town planned for? A Strip? If Stewart thinks the day went bad for Disney, he ain’t seen nothing yet until he tries to put more sprawl out near the battlefield. The journey from Manassas to I-66 is already the trip from Hell. We don’t need anything else out there, especially a town center and more tourists. Corey, take your Civil War-era town and shove it. Put that in YOUR back yard and see how YOUR neighbors like it.
Doesn’t Stewart realize that Manassas is not Gettysburg? Gettysburg is a sleepy little town in rural Pennsylvania. It is a dedicated Civil War Battlefield town. Manassas, site of 2 great Civil War battles, is in the suburbs of Washington, D. C. with all the problems a suburb of any major city has. Stewart should try to come down 66 to get to a concert at Jiffy Lube Concert Arena if he has never experienced the concept of ‘You can’t get here from there.’ No one who has ever tried to get down I-66 on a concert night would even think about putting a Civil War town center anywhere in the area. Just getting through Gainesville is enough to make grown men and women weep.
The City of Manassas and PWC can probably handle toilets and traffic for a few days–at least long enough to get through the activities planned for the Sesquicentennial. However, after the events are over, the traffic in this area will go right back to being unmanageable and will dash any hopes of continued interest in the Manassas battlefield drawing a sustained crowd of tourists past the Civil War buffs it has always drawn. Residents of the area would be wise to just not plan to do much during the festivities. Traffic will be rerouted and we will have a bumper crop of Don’s Johns that have sprung up to accommodate the visitors and revelers. Nothing says event like a row of Don’s Johns.
It sounds like Captain Sound-Byte Stewartis back, speaking before thinking. The open mic concept tags Corey again.