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  Public Information Release
This is another news release from the Port Authority.


October 24, 2006


On a 300-acre parcel of industrial property owned by the Heath-Newark-Licking County Port Authority, an individual has hypothesized that a 2,000 year old, 60-mile long, perfectly-straight road once passed. Further, this same person is quoted in a story posted online that this hypothetical road had some ceremonial or sacred attachment. It has been labeled the Great Hopewell Road, and it is purported to have connected to the Newark Earthworks at one time.

A recently published article in the national publication, Indian Country, gave readers the impression this road actually exists today and that our Port Authority was going to destroy it.

I would be concerned, myself, if such a situation were true--a government entity destroying an ancient, sacred site.

Nothing could be further from the truth, though.

I caution anyone to be aware that information that is published isn't always factual. There is no evidence that the road actually exists on our Port Authority property.

I'm actually angry. It is borderline irresponsible to stir peoples emotions about something that there's no evidence to show even exists. I'd hate to see anyone concerned about the undertakings in which the Port Authority is engaged. There are far too many known, actual ceremonial American Indian sites with actual, sacred purposes that need our attention to preserve.

Time is too precious to waste it chasing ghost stories.

I don't quarrel with the article. I understand the purpose of the story was to encourage people to be engaged in the Federal 106 review process. That is certainly a noble purpose. However, our Port Authority was never called to comment for the Indian Country article and present the facts.

Here's a few facts:

Fact One. We've looked for this road and can't find it. We worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, and a private cultural resources management firm in attempting to identify this hypothesized roadway. A detailed archaeological survey was conducted on 300 acres and no remains of this roadway were identified.

Further, the person who theorizes the existence of this road and has professed its location on our site once said, in a video he produced in the mid 1990's, that the best way to find this road was to use a backhoe and cut a cross section of where it may have gone. We did exactly that, going ten feet down. We had an archaeological professional on site to document it. There's nothing there.

Fact Two. The idea this roadway, if it existed, was ceremonial is a dubious claim at best. The indigenous people who supposedly built this road passed down no traditions or legends of which I am aware. In fact, the people who built it have no known American Indian name. The builders are named for a farmer with the last name Hopewell.

Fact Three. If this road existed, it would have covered over 63 million sq. ft. of land. That's 1,446 acres. Needless to say, a great deal of development from farming, numerous roads, an interstate highway, a canal, at least one airport runway, electric lines, gas lines, water lines, sewer lines, buildings, etc. have already, over the last 2,000 years, encroached this hypothetical road's path.

Our Port Authority is constructing a mere 28 foot wide roadway that, if the hypothetical location of the Hopewell Road is accurate, would impact less than two acres of the 1,446 acres of land mass. Thus, the impact our modern road would have on this hypothesized road amounts to .001 of the land area.

Fact Four. One final point. Giving in to the benefit of the doubt, we have continued to agree to look for the road on our property in places less disturbed by farming in the last century. Should modern technology which we intend to employ later this year or early next in trying to find previously-undiscovered, underground evidence of a roadway, actually find something, then there is no better entity to protect and preserve it than our Port Authority. We have agreed to set aside acreage in two locations for preservation that will encompass the path of the roadway if it exists.

If this happens and, miraculously, a buried portion of this road is found, we will be the first entity to actually be engaged in protecting and preserving a section of this 60-mile, 63 million s.f. road. The Port Authority would be the very first one to invest in preservation of any kind.

This last fact is astonishing considering that numerous books, a video, and paid lectures have been made about the hypothesized Great Hopewell Road. I suggest that 100% of the proceeds from such commercial ventures, past and future, should be dedicated to finding the roadway where it may exist and, if actually found, preserving the path of the roadway for future generations.

I hope I have answered concerns raised by the article.

I am encouraged that the numerous state and federal officials involved with the over 200-day long permit process for our construction project handled themselves professionally. This process was a learning process for all involved and they have, no pun intended, made a roadmap for future handling of matters related to this hypothesized Great Hopewell Road which are, rightly, sensitive to both the need for job creation and the goal of preservation of actual, documented historical sites.

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  Phone: (740) 788-5500