CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
H.R. 4515 is scheduled to be considered on the House floor on Tuesday, July 13, 2010, under a suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote. The legislation was introduced by Rep. John Conyers (D-MI). The bill was referred to the Committee on Natural resources, which took no official action.
H.R. 4514 would require the Secretary of Interior to conduct a special resources study of the Colonel Charles Young Home, a National Historic Landmark in Xenia, Ohio. Under the legislation the study would evaluate any architectural and archeological resources of the home and would determine the suitability and feasibility of designating the Home as a unit of the National Park System. In addition, the study would require the Secretary to identify cost estimates for any Federal acquisition, development, interpretation, operation, and maintenance associated with the alternatives considered under the study. The Secretary would be required to report the findings of the study within three years of funding being made available.
According to findings listed in the bill, Colonel Charles Young was a distinguished African-American officer in the United States Army and the third African-American to graduate from West Point. Colonel Young commanded troops during the Spanish American War and the Mexican expedition against Pancho Via. The home of Colonel Young is located near Xenia, Ohio, and is currently registered as a National Historic Landmark. The underlying legislation would require a study to determine the home's suitability as a unit of the National Park Service (NPS). The NPS is facing a huge maintenance deficit and collapsing national park infrastructure. According to CRS, the NPS backlog for maintenance on existing buildings, trails, and other infrastructure was more than $9 billion in FY 2006. The backlog is a result of the NPS failing to do scheduled maintenance and upkeep that was not funded or carried out according to plan. As a result of the backlog, NPS's infrastructure is rapidly deteriorating. Some Members may be concerned that expanding the responsibilities of NPS would be unsustainable without addressing the current management structure which has resulted in such a large, unfunded maintenance backlog.
According to CBO, H.R. 4514 would cost approximately $250,000 over the next three years.