The Bladensburg Marina, freshly dredged of the sands and silt from Anacosta River and rejuvenated with flower beds, purple martin houses and new bathrooms, formally reopened this week as the focus of Prince George's County's newest recreational and boating facility.

Once a tobacco shipping harbor in the 1700s and the site of the infamous Battle of Bladensburg in 1814 when the British came up river, routed American troops and went on to burn Washington, the marina will now be open to accommodate at least 130 of the 12,000 boats registered by Prince George's residents.

With the restored Indian Queen Tavern and Peace Cross just up the road and a riverside park under construction across the river near Colmar Manor, the Bladensburg marina and public boat dock, the only one of its kind inside the country's beltway, is expected to be a major attraction for the county.

The ceremonies, attended by politicians and appointed officials who have pushed for the completion of the marina over the past few years, formally transferred it from the control of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission to the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The marina originally was built in 1959 by the Army Corps of Engineers as part of the Anacostia River Flood Control and Navigation Project. The WSSC has operated and maintained the marina and river area since then. But in 1972, Hurricane Agnes dropped tons of silt into the river, closing all but one dock of the marina.

Through a bond issue approved by the Maryland General Assembly in 1975, the WSSC has spent nearly $500,000 to dredge out the river around the marina through a concession agency, the WSSC will continue to keep the river open for navigation.