BALTIMORE (WBAL & AP) —
A brick walkway at Fort McHenry was damaged by crews preparing for Vice President Mike Pence’s speech planned at the historic site for Wednesday.
Crews have been quickly building a stage, mobile broadcast center and infrastructure needed to beam a speech by the vice president from Fort McHenry to the Republican National Convention on Wednesday.
Rebecca Harriett, with The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, said she is concerned the permit issued by the National Park Service was pushed through and approved too quickly.
“Things took on a very fast pace, cutting corners so that the infrastructure for this speech could be built, and in that process, resources are being damaged,” Harriett said.
The National Park Service told 11 News that parts of a brick walkway inside the fort were damaged by a forklift during setup work, saying: As noted in the permit, the permittee, (the Maryland Republican Party), is liable for damages and associated costs.”
The park service said the damaged bricks dated from a 1930s restoration at the fort.
“There has been some damage, and for the sake of getting this done quickly, corners have been cut from the normal procedures of planning and events such as this,” Harriett said.
The park service and the organization of people who once worked for the park service both emphasized that this type of event, the permit secured and the level of security for dignitaries is not unusual.
“We would feel this way if the (Democratic National Convention) were doing it, too,” Harriett said.
President Donald Trump has frequently used iconic public sites, including the National Mall and Mount Rushmore, as settings for fireworks displays and speeches to his supporters.
The National Park Service also authorized Republicans to set off fireworks at the Washington Monument on Thursday for Trump’s speech accepting the party’s nomination.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.