SHARPSBURG, Md. (AP) — The western Maryland town that witnessed the bloodiest one-day battle of the Civil War is considering joining a state-sponsored tourism program it rejected 16 years ago.

The Maryland Historical Trust is holding a public hearing Friday night on a proposal to include Sharpsburg in the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area.

The program already includes the nearby Antietam National Battlefield and 26 communities in Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties. Participation makes local governments, nonprofits and businesses eligible for financial aid for historic preservation and tourism promotion.

Sharpsburg officials rejected the program in 1999, fearing that too much tourism would spoil the town of 700. But Mayor Hal Spielman, elected in 2002, says he thinks it would be a positive move for the town and its residents.

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