By DAVE MCMILLION
7:38 PM EST, December 3, 2012
Mayor Paul N. Crampton Jr. said he expects signs to be posted in Funkstown Community Park this week stating that no metal detecting will be allowed in the park that is bordered by Beaver Creek Road and Old National Pike.
Funkstown Town Council members in November decided to ban metal detecting in the park after council member John Phillips III said the activity appears to be a problem there.
A Civil War battle occurred in the area of the park and Phillips said a “very expensive piece” was dug up in the park recently.
With regard to the park, Phillips said during the November meeting that he believes “what’s in the ground stays in the ground.”
Crampton said last week that if the problem continues after signs are posted, the town could consider the implementation of fines in an attempt to thwart relic hunting in the park.
“I guess I was a little surprised that someone would be out there,” Crampton said.
An official for the Town of Williamsport said he was not sure if the town has any laws prohibiting metal detecting in its parks.
“That’s never really be a problem over here,” said Donnie Stotelmyer, Williamsport’s clerk/treasurer.
Stotelmyer said there are bound to be Civil War relics throughout town — including in Byron Memorial and Riverbottom parks — because the Confederate army occupied the town for a week after retreating from the Battle of Gettysburg.
Sharpsburg is just a short distance from Antietam National Battlefield, where about 23,000 soldiers were listed as dead, wounded or missing after battle on Sept. 17, 1862.
Despite Sharpsburg’s ties to history, Mayor Hal Spielman said the town has never had a problem with people searching for Civil War relics on park property.
One reason metal detecting has not been a problem is because one of the parks, which is on High Street next to a ball field, is known more for its history as being a former dump than as a spot for relics, Spielman said.
The other park in town, Mark Smith Park on Church Street, would not be popular for relic hunting because it is so small, Spielman said.
Sharpsburg does not have any laws prohibiting relic hunting, he said.
Smithsburg Mayor Mildred “Mickey” Myers said the town has not had a problem with relic hunting.
Periodically, someone will ask if they can hunt relics on town property, Myers said. Town officials always tell them “no,” she said.
“First of all, they’re digging up public ground paid for by all the taxpayers,” Myers said.
The Town of Boonsboro has had a law on the books for about 35 years that bans relic hunting, Town Clerk Barbara Rodenhiser said.
She said she didn’t believe there was a lot of Civil War activity within the town.
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