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 building, aggressive advocacy gives us an opportunity to save thousands of buildings.

Advocacy is in Session! At the start of the 440th Session of the Maryland General Assembly in January 2020, Preservation Maryland stands poised to continue to be the voice of historic preservation and smart growth in Annapolis. The following advocacy issues represent our current portfolio of active efforts. Each issue presents itself with an opportunity to get involved – and each urgently requires donor support to make them a success.

Support our Advocacy Work

Contact Elly Cowan, Director of Advocacy

Historic Revitalization Tax Credit

The revitalization of Maryland communities is fueled by the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit program. Senator Katie Fry Hester is introducing legislation 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 forthcoming bill 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: $800K
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) 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

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

Governor Hogan’s newly released FY21 budget includes full funding for Program Open Space, as well as repayment of funds from the program that had been previously diverted.

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Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2021, including funding for a number of key preservation and smart growth programs.

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In this special guest blog, Maryland State Delegate Brooke Lierman makes a powerful case for the important role historic preservation can play in helping Maryland grow smarter. 

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Tagged In: Advocacy, Smart Growth,

In response to an announcement by the Hogan Administration that calls for the expansion Maryland highways, over 20 non-profit and community advocacy organizations, including Smart Growth Maryland, launched a new coalition, Maryland Advocates for Sustainable Transportation, to steer the conversation to more sustainable transportation solutions.

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As a result of Preservation Maryland and its many partners’ ongoing and sustained advocacy, $9 million more historic tax credit projects were recently funded across Maryland. As a result, over $180 million worth of projects will move forward – underscoring the importance of preservation advocacy. However, the lack of geographic diversity in the projects awarded highlights the continued need for more funding in the program.

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In one of the earliest hearings after the start of the 440th Maryland General Assembly, Smart Growth Maryland and its partners in the Smarter Growth Alliance for Charles County will be testifying in support of legislation that will advance the planning of the Southern Maryland Rapid Transit project.

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Today marks the start of the 440th Session of the Maryland General Assembly, and Preservation Maryland is prepared to be the voice of historic preservation in Annapolis. We have a full slate of priorities in support of historic tax credits, community revitalization, preservation funding, and smart growth.

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12/31/2019
By Preservation Maryland

Top 11 Preservation Victories of 2019

In 2019, Preservation Maryland achieved several important victories across our major programs, including advocacy, grantmaking, smart growth, historic trades, and all of our research and education efforts. At any one-time, our staff is working on many active and on-going projects and what follows is just a sample of our donor-supported work of which we are most proud.

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On Thursday, November 7, 2019, the Campaign for Historic Trades, a program of Preservation Maryland, was invited to present before the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation about the innovative new public-private partnership.

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12/10/2019
By Preservation Maryland

Video: Preservation Maryland 2019 Donor Impact Report

Preservation Maryland’s work takes us to some of Maryland’s most stunning historic places but also to important places that time has forgotten and to communities that need our help. We work every day to make preservation a priority in approaching the challenges and opportunities of every historic community across Maryland, from Baltimore to Brunswick. In this stunning video, Preservation Maryland is pleased to highlight some of our most important donor-supported work this year.

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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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