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Advocacy Update

Our Work is Never Done! In the face of the ongoing pandemic, Preservation Maryland convened a task force of history, preservation, economic development, design, and tourism organizations to focus on identifying and advocating for public policy necessary to support the recovery of Maryland’s historical and cultural resources and the communities they support. The Maryland Heritage Recovery Task Force is focused on including museumsadaptive reuse, and smart growth in future recovery bills. 

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Advocacy

Preservation Maryland works at the federal, state, and local level to influence the policies, programs, and funding mechanisms that make preservation and smart growth possible. Advocacy remains one of the primary activities of the organization because of the dramatic scale of its impact.

Current 2020 Priorities

Rather than just saving one museum, one building, or one acre of open space, aggressive advocacy gives us an opportunity to save thousands of museums, buildings, and acres of open space.

Session is Closed, Yet Our Work is Not Done: The 441st Session of the Maryland General Assembly came to an abrupt close on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 due to Covid-19. With the final three weeks of session compressed into four days, Preservation Maryland worked to make sure that a number of our priority bills moved through the legislative process before Session came to a close. Now, we’re focused on including museums, adaptive reuse, and smart growth in future recovery bills.

SESSION LEGISLATION RECAP

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Historic Revitalization Tax Credit

The revitalization of Maryland communities is fueled by the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit program. Senator Katie Fry Hester and Delegate Stephanie Smith are introducing The Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2020 (SB978/HB862) that will strengthen this effective community redevelopment tool.

HISTORIC TAX CREDITS WORK FOR MARYLAND

As of FY20, Maryland invested only $9M in the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit program for the year for the entire state. By comparison, Virginia invests nearly $100M annually, and West Virginia invests $30M. Maryland is falling behind. Preservation Maryland and our supporters have worked diligently to make policy changes to strengthen this essential revitalization tool. Unfortunately, without more funding for the program, those positive changes have little opportunity to make the intended impact for communities across Maryland.

COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION

We recognize the positive impact that historic preservation projects can have for the surrounding community and the state as a whole. The Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2020 (SB978/HB862) would:

  1. Increase funding for the program to $15 for FY 2022, followed by a stepped increase to reach full funding at $30M in FY2025,
  2. Allow the state Historic Tax Credit to be transferred outside of development partnerships to help decrease the cost of completing projects and provide an additional financing option for preservation redevelopment. This would go a long way to offset the damaging impact on community redevelopment the change to the federal Historic Tax Credit that came out of recent tax reform has had and costs the state nothing, and
  3. Extend the authorization of the program through 2028.

Preservation Grant Funding

Maryland’s preservation grant programs had gone completely unfunded since FY10. Because of our advocacy, in FY18, funding was restored to the Capital and Non-Capital grant programs. Current funding continues at starvation level, with the need far outstripping available funds. We must and will do more to support those safe-guarding our state’s rich and unique history.

CURRENT MHT GRANT PROGRAM FUNDING: $900K
TOTAL FY21 REQUEST: $1M

  1. Capital Grant Program
    Current Funding: $600k
    FY21 Capital Request: $600k
    This program funds capital upgrades and repairs to certified historic structures owned by non-profits and local governments. It is operated as a competitively-awarded program with statewide reach and impact.
  2. Non-Capital Grants (Planning & Research)
    Current Funding: $300k
    FY21 Operating Request: $400k
    This program was previously funded via the state operating budget. This program awarded competitive grants for architectural and archaeological research, survey and documentation, public education, and planning projects. The program directly supported local government efforts to preserve places important to their constituents.

African American Heritage Grant Funding

The African American Heritage Grant Program provides direct grant support for capital (bricks-and-mortar) upgrades and repairs to sites representing Maryland’s African-American historical experience. As with the Capital and Non-Capital Grant programs, the funding requests for this program are consistently greater than the available funding.

CURRENT African American Heritage Grant Funding: $1M
TOTAL FY21 REQUEST: $3M

Smart Growth Legislation

Southern Maryland rapid transit Project

(SB105/HB205) Over the last 25 years, the state has completed five major studies on the feasibility, need, and economic impact of high-capacity, fixed route transit service to Southern Maryland, and despite the conclusion of every study repeatedly confirming that the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project would vastly improve the quality of life for Southern Maryland residents, promote economic development consistent with smart growth, and advance the State’s emissions reduction goal, the Maryland Department of Transportation has not moved forward with the project. SB105 would require the State to complete the necessary steps to complete the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project and commit the necessary funding.

Local Consent of Toll Road Construction

(SB229/HB292)This legislation would extended an authority currently only granted to eastern shore counties, which would require that local governments approve of state toll roads before their construction in their jurisdictions. Toll roads have the potential to significantly impact growth patterns, and often historic resources, making this legislation a priority for the smart growth and preservation community alike.

Program Open Space

In 1969, the Maryland General Assembly created Program Open Space through the institution of a transfer tax of .5% on every real estate transaction in the state. Since then the program has been responsible for:

  • 319,000 acres of open space for state parts and natural resource areas,
  • Creation and funding of the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority and heritage area grants,
  • More than 6,100 individual county and municipal parks and conservation areas,
  • 31,000 acres of local park land,
  • 31 Rural Legacy Areas, preserving 77,000 acres,
  • 286,000 acres of farmland under Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Foundation easement.

The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority is funded by Program Open Space. Preservation Maryland supports full funding of Program Open Space and the Heritage Area Authority, opposes any attempts to shortcut, reduce, or cap the program in any way, and we support the repayment of previous diversions from the fund.

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Advocacy Updates

Tagged In: Advocacy, Smart Growth,

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who represents Maryland’s 5th District announced that the House would vote on the Great American Outdoors Act (HR 7092), the single largest investment in the preservation of historic, cultural, and natural resources for public lands in our generation, by the end of July.

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A leading consulting firm in the study of preservation, revitalization, and reinvestment economics, PlaceEconomics, has just released a clear case for including historic preservation principles squarely into COVID-19 recovery efforts.

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The Land and Water Conservation Fund is an essential tool for preserving America’s vast and varied landscapes and cultural resources. Because of the Act’s positive and proven impact, Smart Growth Maryland has joined with a number of national partners to call on Congress to make funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund permanent by passing the Great American Outdoors Act as part of the next round of COVID-19 recovery legislation.

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Because of the safety measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we have all experienced considerable disruption to how we move and where we go. Google has been compiling data about our collective change in movement – and it shows Marylander’s unebbing attraction to our parks, trails, and open spaces.

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05/12/2020
By Nicholas A. Redding

Membership 2020: Preservation Is An Act of Optimism

To be a preservationist, you need to be an optimist.  You need to look at the dilapidated building, see what once was, and have the vision to see what could be.  Today, at a time when despair would be easy, I need you to reach deep into your reserves of optimism – and help us build a brighter future by joining Preservation Maryland.

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In March, the National Park Service released their latest Annual Report on the Historic Tax Credit program, the largest Federal investment in historic preservation.

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Maryland’s historic tax credit is a ready-made tool for economic recovery in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Preservation Maryland is hard at work to ensure that the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit remains funded for FY21.

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Tagged In: Advocacy, Smart Growth,

As America confronts the vast challenges and economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, continued implementation of smart growth policy at all levels of government must remain a priority.

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Preservation Maryland has joined with the National Trust for Historic Preservation to call on Congress to include preservation priorities in the next coronavirus health, recovery, and stimulus legislation.

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Maryland Matters, an independent, non-partisan news site about Maryland government and politics, recently published an Op-Ed by Preservation Maryland Executive Director, Nicholas Redding.

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Advocacy Issues

Maryland Historic Revitalization Tax Credit

In Maryland, tax credits for rehab projects have revitalized communities statewide, saved thousands of historic buildings,  and created billions in state revenue.

Smart Growth

Smart Growth Maryland is a campaign of Preservation Maryland which advocates for a more environmentally and economically sustainable future that creates opportunities for all Marylanders through better development patterns.

Program Open Space

Thanks to this program, nearly all Marylanders are just 15 minutes away from a state, local park or public open space.

Maryland Heritage Areas

Promoting and enhancing the history of Maryland is a big job – and one that fuels one of the state’s most important industries: Heritage Tourism.

Federal Issues

Federal agencies oversee key funding programs and policies that protect America’s historic resources from needless destruction.

State Grants

State funding for preservation benefits all Marylanders – and has saved historic resources from Oakland to Ocean City.

State Agency Funding

Several key state agencies are charged with protecting Maryland’s history – a job that requires adequate resources.

Local Incentives

All across the state, local governments have realized the value of a well-preserved community and many offer lucrative programs to assist with rehab efforts.

Main Street

Main Street Maryland’s traditional downtown economic and cultural districts are the cornerstones of local communities throughout the State of Maryland.

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