Trump nomination has local campaign for World Heritage status on hold

Ohio efforts for Fort Ancient, other sites wait for U.S. Park Service changes.

Ohio historians are awaiting a decision by the Trump administration expected to help determine if the state park at Fort Ancient and other sites in the state preserving earthworks from the Hopewell culture will be designated a World Heritage Site.

The political uncertainty puts the campaign for the global designation for the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks on hold, while a planning process nears completion in part designed to prepare the area around the Interstate 71 Interchange at Wilmington Road for the tourists expected to follow the touted designation.

“We are kind of in a little holding pattern right now,” Jen Aultman, World Heritage Project Coordinator for the Ohio History Connection, said.

The U.S. Park Service post is among many the Trump administration is expected to appoint in coming weeks or months, clearing the way for a decision on which American sites will be part of the next submission for World Heritage status through UNESCO.

Promoters predict attendance at the Fort Ancient site could jump from about 25,000 to as much as 250,000 a year.

And on Thursday, Feb. 2, the proposed plan for development around the Wilmington Road interchange will be unveiled at an open house at Olive Branch United Methodist Church in Washington Twp., Warren County.

The plan maps the future land use for property east and west of the interchange about halfway between Columbus and Cincinnati and near the state park established at Fort Ancient.

A steering committee, with resident input, has developed a 60-page plan for the area also including more than 300 acres owned by the University of Cincinnati and other large tracts held for commercial development.

Bruce Hellman, who heads a group that owns 93 acres in the planning area, said residents hope to preserve the area’s rural character, while property owners hope to see the area undergo commercial development.

“We want to work with the homeowners. We want to work with the business owners,” Hellman said.

We are working to bring you more on this story this weekend.

Wilmington Road Interchange Plan Open House

Thursday, Feb. 2, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.,

Olive Branch United Methodist Church

7315 Wilmington Road, Oregonia

For more information, call 513-695-1767

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