The House voted for the second time yesterday to expand the Manassas National Battlefield Park in Prince William County, this time by adding as much as 1,800 acres to the 3,000-acre reservation.
A similar bill died in the Senate last year after winning easy approval in the House. It was opposed by Sen. William L. Scott (R-Va.), who has not yet announced his position on the revived bill.
Rep. Herbert E. Harris (D-Va.), chief sponsor of the renewed measure, said during debate yesterday that the rapid population growth in the Manassas area makes it urgent to pass the bill before land for the park is bought and developed. Another year might be too late, he said.
There was no opposition yesterday to the measure, which was approved by voice vote. The measure would authorize an outlay of $8.5 million to buy the additional land, and also permit the National Park Service to make payments to the county government in lieu of taxes on the acquired land.
The measure provides for acquisition of the new acreage along the south edge of the existing park, alongside Interstate Rte. 66; at the extreme western end, alongside U.S. Rte. 29-211; at the extreme northern end, at and near Sudley Springs, and at the extreme eastern end, including the old stone bridge where Union troops massed to start the first battle of Manassas in 1861. The Manassas campus of Northern Virginia Community College, which is within the boundaries of the park, is exempted from the acquisition.