The boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park would expand and the federal battle site's purview would grow to include the historic Lincoln Train Station in downtown Gettysburg under a resolution that unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives Monday night.
Introduced by Rep. Scott Perry, R-York County, the resolution must also pass the Senate and be signed by President Barack Obama before becoming law.
Abraham Lincoln arrived at the station prior to delivering the Gettysburg Address in 1863. The historic property, which had also served as a hospital during the famous Battle of Gettysburg, is currently owned by the borough of Gettysburg and operated by the Gettysburg Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Borough officials have asked military park officials to incorporate the station, as the park service has the broad resources necessary to ensure its preservation, said Bob Reilly, Perry's deputy chief of staff.
He said the passage of the resolution reflects several years of effort, starting several years ago with Perry predecessor Todd Platts. Both legislators tried to have the measure passed before last year's 150th anniversary of the battle, but timing was apparently right for the House until Monday, Reilly said.
The park service plans to use the station as a downtown information center. The resolution would also expand the park's boundaries to include 45 acres of donated land along Plum Run in Cumberland Township.
Reilly said the House resolution will cost the federal government no money. The Gettysburg Foundation, a non-profit partner of the park, raised money to buy the train station from the borough and donate it to the park service, which would own and operate it if the resolution becomes law.