Skip To Content
December 06, 2022

City, Park Service discuss future of Commerce Street site

Credit: Frederick News-Post, Ryan Marshall

The city of Frederick and the National Park Service continue to look at the possibility of the federal agency leaving its downtown office for a spot on the city’s west side, even as the two sides move toward a new lease for the current location.

The Park Service’s Historic Preservation Training Center has been housed at a city building at 106 Commerce St. since 2002.

But the city and the Park Service have been working for several years to move the training center and its approximately 70 employees to a site at the city’s Westside Regional Park along Butterfly Lane near the Golden Mile neighborhood.

The city’s aldermen voted last week to extend the lease on the Commerce Street property, which ends at the end of September 2023, for an additional five years at the same rent of $26,087 per year.

The Park Service has been “good stewards” of the Commerce Street property, maintaining and enhancing the building, Marc DeOcampo, director of strategic planning and executive projects, told the aldermen Thursday.

Alderman Ben MacShane asked about the length of the extension, noting the possible move to the Westside Regional Park location.

The Park Service is awaiting congressional approval to buy a piece of parkland, and the city could work with the agency if it wants to relocate before the new lease is up, DeOcampo said.

Five years is “a good, comfortable runway” for the project, he said.

A bill submitted by U.S. Rep. David Trone to allow the Park Service to buy up to 20 acres for $31 million received a favorable report from the Committee on Natural Resources in November 2021 and is awaiting a vote in the full House of Representatives, according to congressional records.

The Historic Preservation Training Center uses historic preservation projects to teach the philosophy of preservation, as well as building crafts, technology, and project management skills.

The purchase “would enable NPS to expand its historic trades training, as the current demand for qualified individuals greatly outweighs those that have been trained,” according to a report from the Committee on Natural Resources.

The Park Service already leases a historic farmstead at Westside Regional Park. If it moved its office from the Commerce Street location, it would move to a parcel adjacent to the farmstead site, DeOcampo wrote in an email Tuesday.