A rendering of the proposed Harriet Tubman visitors center at Maryland's Harriet Tubman State Park. The state of Maryland just received an $8.5 million grant toward the building of the center.
A project in Maryland that will be the centerpiece of an effort to honor Harriet Tubman is getting $8.5 million in federal funding.
Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley says the U.S. Department of Transportation is awarding the grant for the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitors Center in Dorchester County.
The project, which is located 10 miles south of Cambridge on Maryland's Eastern Shore, will cost $21 million overall.
Tubman was born on the Eastern Shore, and an exhibit will explore her early life there and her efforts to help hundreds of slaves secure freedom.
State officials and activists have tried for nearly a decade to establish the center, and the plan got a bit closer to reality in 2007 thanks to a land exchange between the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, The Conservation Fund, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that secured approximately 17-acres of land within Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge for the development of the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad State Park.
O'Malley says the project will create 225 construction jobs and bring in millions of dollars annually from visitors. Groundbreaking is expected in 2012 and Maryland's Department of Natural Resources hope the center will open in early 2013.