American Revolution Center coming to Philly, not Valley Forge

July 1, 2009 3:51:50 PM PDT
The National Park Service and officials with the American Revolution Center announced Wednesday afternoon that the controversial museum will be built in Old City Philadelphia, not Valley Forge.The American Revolution Center, designed to be a museum about the Revolutionary War, will be located at 3rd and Chestnut Streets in the city.

It'll be in the location of the old Bicentennial Visitor's Center.

In exchange for the site, the National Park Service says it will receive the 78 acre parcel of private land owned by the Center within the boundary of the Valley Forge National Historic Park.

"What the Park Service gets from it is 78 acres preserved forever in Valley Forge, and in Independence National Historic Park we get a great new museum," said Phil Sheridan of the National Park Service.

The site at Valley Forge was originally proposed for the museum, but opponents said it would have had a negative impact on the surrounding environment.

ARC officials say they will work with the National Park Service and other agencies that manage sites in the area as the projects moves ahead.

ARC's plan now is to build the definitive Revolutionary War museum.

"There's a message to tell about it, and what better place to tell it than in Philadelphia, which was the founding city of our country," said H.R. "Gerry" Lenfest, ARC Board Chairman.

ARC's plan to build in the suburbs was controversial, and locals blasted the plan. Specifically, a plan to build a 99-room dormitory, which critics feared would have become a commercial hotel.

So far, ARC had prevailed in legal battles, but opponents had vowed to fight on.

"With that cloud over us, we couldn't raise the money to build the museum," Lenfest said.

While the museum will be located in Old City, the plans for a conference center and dormitory have been scrapped.

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