Testimony: Anacostia Trail Heritage Area Boundary Expansion

11/17/2015
By Meagan Baco

Preservation Maryland supports the Maryland Heritage Area Authority, and each of the Heritage Areas – every county and Baltimore City are served by the Authority’s heritage and cultural tourism promotion and dollar-for-dollar grants. When the Maryland Heritage Area Authority heard testimony on the proposed expansion of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area, we supported the motion:

On November 17, 2015, Meagan Baco, Director of Communications, of Preservation Maryland, testified in support of the expansion of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area at a public hearing at the Belair Mansion in Bowie, Maryland:

TESTIMONY

On behalf of Preservation Maryland and our thousands of statewide supporters, thank you for the opportunity to speak in support of Maryland’s Heritage Area program and the expansion of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area.

Preservation Maryland is the statewide voice for historic preservation that works to protect the best of Maryland. Since our founding as a non-profit organization in 1931, we have worked to protect the places, stories and communities in Maryland that matter, yesterday and today, through funding, outreach and advocacy.

We support Maryland’s Heritage Areas, because they are places to experience – to see, hear, and even smell and taste – the authentic heritage of this great state in a unique way. Heritage Areas are where the stories of the people, the land and the waters of Maryland, which have been intertwined for thousands of years, continue to be told.

The experiences and events that Heritage Area provide and promote are sought widely by residents, tourists and visitors – driven by a true desire for new and meaningful experiences. This is backed by reports that calculate that visitors to Maryland spent over $14.9 billion, generating more than $2 billion in state and local tax revenue across Maryland in just one year. Studies have repeatedly found that heritage tourists stay longer and spend more than any other travelers, so an investment in expanding the Maryland Heritage Areas program is an investment in a great economic development tool and a more prosperous Maryland.

Since 1998, the entire Heritage Area program has put up substantial numbers in supporting economic development, heritage and cultural tourism, and revitalization projects; with over $31 million dollar in grants funding 671 projects. For every dollar spent on the program, $4.61 is returned in tax revenue. This is good news.

On a personal note, Executive Director of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area, Aaron Marcavitch was one of the very first people to welcome me to the DC area by giving me a tour of the heritage area. I immediately became involved with the Friends of Greenbelt Theatre and continue to serve on their Board of Directors and my Sunday drives typically begin heading North on Route 1. Professionally and personally, I see the difference that the Heritage Area makes in the culture and community of the included areas.

Expansion of the boundaries of the Anacostia Trail Heritage Area will expand the reach of its proven programs, like improved signage, wayfinding, trails, and informational kiosks, as well as its impact through mini-grants and grants.

GLENN DALE HOSPITAL

A project that could immediately benefit from the expansion of the Heritage Area is the National Register-listed 1930s campus of the Glenn Dale Hospital, a former tuberculous sanitarium. In use up until the 1980s, it’s striking to see the deteriorative effects of the relatively brief period of vacancy and deferred maintenance on the site.

Last month, Preservation Maryland announced that Glenn Dale Hospital will be part of the inaugural class of what we’re calling Six-to-Fix sites. It’s a much enhanced version of a “most endangered” list commonly produced by preservation groups. As a Six-to-Fix site, we will work with the strong and long-standing community groups that have been working to protect the site for decades, to design a sustainable rehabilitation solution for this white elephant project. We have seen it done across the Country, and we can do it in Glenn Dale.

Expansion of the Heritage Area to include Glenn Dale Hospital will provide essential opportunities for funding for planning and preservation. It could likely be a needed spark to press play.

For their proven impact on heritage tourism and the much-needed funding opportunities that they provide, Preservation Maryland is in strong support of the expansion of the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area.

Meagan Baco · Director of Communications

Meagan Baco shares the stories of the Old Line State’s important history and unique places – and the people working to preserve it, through Preservation Maryland’s website and publications.

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