Merritt Parkway in Connecticut among 93 at risk sites

Tue Oct 6, 2009 9:33am EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Merritt Parkway in Connecticut joins a monastery in Bhutan, a church in Chile and a British dockyard among 93 "irreplaceable" sites at risk from vandalism, neglect, conflict or disaster, the World Monuments Fund said on Tuesday.

The eighth bi-annual "World Monuments Watch" list by the nonprofit group identified at risk sites in 47 countries.

"Comprising creations of individual imaginations, testaments to faith, and masterpieces of civil engineering, among other types, the sites on the 2010 Watch are irreplaceable monuments to human culture," the fund said.

Among the sites listed are Phajoding monastery in Bhutan, the Churches of Arica Parinacota in Chile and Sheerness Dockyard in Britain.

The Merritt Parkway was built in the 1930s and is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places for the unique architectural design of each of its bridges.

"Not all sites on the Watch are in imminent danger. Many face challenges on the horizon, providing the opportunity to engage in dialogue and decision-making now, so as to avoid problems in the future," Erica Avrami, the fund's research and education director, said in a statement.

The report did not specifically list the threats to each individual site.

More than 630 sites in 125 countries and territories have been listed since the watch list began in 1996. The fund has spent about $50 million supporting sites in 79 countries.

Success stories from the 2008 "World Monuments Watch" include the protection of Scott's Hut, Antarctica; Falmouth Historic Town, Jamaica; Pella Macedonia Tombs, Greece; Capitanes Generales Palace, Guatemala; Mavisbank House, Britain; and Florida Southern College in the United States.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols, Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Alan Elsner)