The Third Battle of Manassas: A Historic Battlefield Lands on the Endangered Species List | Securities
For the second time in its history, Manassas Battlefield State Park is listed as one of Virginia’s most endangered historic places.
Conservation groups gathered at the battlefield’s Brawner Farm on Tuesday to announce its inclusion on the annual list of Preservation Virginia, a statewide group based in Richmond that publishes an annual list of historic sites at risk .
“These landscapes tell an important story of our past,” said Elizabeth Kostelny, CEO of Preservation Virginia.
The battlefield is the site of the First and Second Battles of Bull Run during the Civil War. The First Battle of Bull Run, fought on July 21, 1861, was the first major battle of the war, with nearly 1,000 soldiers killed in a Confederate victory. The Second Battle of Bull Run took place from August 28, 1862, to August 30, 1862. Nearly 3,000 soldiers died in the battle, which was a Confederate victory and precipitated the failed invasion of Maryland from the South the following month.
The site is now at the center of a new battle over a nearby data center development project.
Last summer, landowners along Pageland Lane submitted an application to change the land designation of their properties in the overall plan from agricultural zoning to technology zoning for the PW digital gateway.
The 2,100-acre demand could pave the way for 27.6 million square feet of data centers, nearly as much data center space as is currently in use or under construction in neighboring Loudoun County, the largest concentration of such facilities in the world.
The study area is the entirety of Pageland Lane between US 29 and Sudley Road.
Kansas-based QTS Realty Trust Inc., which has a data center in the Manassas area, filed the first gateway-related rezoning application, covering 812 acres of the proposal — or about 40% of the overall project. The company wants to build 7.9 million square feet of data center space on the land.
Manassas Battlefield joined Brandy Station Battlefield in Culpeper as battlefields threatened by potential data center development, according to the Preservation Virginia report.
“We want local officials in these counties to understand that, as with any type of development, preservation and data centers are not mutually exclusive,” David Duncan, president of the American Battlefield Trust, said in a statement. Press release. “These communities can have both, but it all depends on careful consideration of the location.”
Kostelny said the battlefield was first listed as endangered in 2013 when Prince William County was considering the Bi-County Parkway.
The park’s acting superintendent, Raquel Montez, said the park “continues to oppose” the development of the data center. She said its impacts on the environment and cultural resources have not been fully investigated.
Montez said a key aspect of the park is maintaining an immersive environment.
“Even though the lands we are trying to protect are not within our legislative boundaries, they are important not only to our county, but to our nation,” she said.
Proponents of the PW digital gateway say it will provide a huge economic boom for the county in an area that is no longer rural. Owners of Pageland Lane should see financial gains – likely significant – if their property is sold to data center developers.
County officials continue to review the PW digital gateway application and rezoning of QTS. No public hearing has been scheduled on the proposals.