The residents of Broad Creek Historic District have been at odds with developer Milt Peterson before, but the community’s advisory committee was in support of Peterson’s next plan — donating a chunk of land in the district for preservation.
Peterson, president of Peterson Cos., donated 72 acres of land on Dec. 13 to The Conservancy of Broad Creek, a nonprofit group that protects and preserves land in and around the Fort Washington-based Broad Creek Historic District.
The Peterson Cos. is a development company overseeing Fort Washington’s National Harbor, an entertainment and retail property. The Broad Creek Historic District is an about 455-acre area of land that features 18th century buildings such as Harmony Hall, St. Johns Church and Want Water Ruins. The district is listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places, recognized for its historical buildings and land, according to The U.S. Department of Interior.
The new land will be preserved as a forest preservation and the conservancy is considering putting a nature trail through the property so visitors can enjoy the land and wildlife will remain protected, said Richard Krueger, conservancy president.
The land donation was announced at a Dec. 14 Broad Creek Historic District Christmas party, where Peterson was deemed an honorary citizen of Broad Creek.
“We have sort of a unique situation here in that we have got a developer that the historic preservation community is honoring,” Krueger said. “That 70 some acres is dedicated in perpetuity [as a] forest preserve. It won’t evolve into something else, it will be there as a representative of good, honest, thoughtful communication with the preservation community.”
Peterson said he was happy to give the land to the historic district’s conservancy because he believed in the organization’s goals of preserving the land.
“This group is absolutely focused and has a purpose to really preserve history,” Peterson said. “When I bought the property I had no idea that it had real, true historic significance. This is the right thing to do.”
Councilman Obie Patterson (D-Dist. 8) of Fort Washington said the land donation was a victory for residents because the history and beauty of the area will be protected. The land donated by Peterson is located in Patterson’s district.
“It is a wonderful tribute from the Peterson Company to the Broad Creek Historic District,” Patterson said.