By Katie Parks
In spite of the challenges presented by this year, Preservation Maryland continues to invest in the future of our state by preserving the heart of our communities.
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 museums, adaptive reuse, and smart growth in future recovery bills.Join The Task Force
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
(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.
(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.
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:
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.
Leading preservation economics firm, PlaceEconomics recently completed an analysis of Baltimore City’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit program that supports positive assumptions about the value of the credit, and brings to light new information about the use and benefit of the credit in communities across the city.Continue Reading
In late August, the Taxation, Finance, & Economic Development Committee of the Baltimore City Council returned a favorable report on Council Bill 20-0552, which extends the city’s historic tax credit through 2022. The bill now moves on to the full City Council, and we need you now to reach out to your councilperson and ask them to support this legislation.Continue Reading
The City of Baltimore is currently considering a bill that would extend its historic tax credit through February 2022.Continue Reading
Frederick County has recently passed three pieces of landmark legislation that puts the county at the forefront of smart growth and environmental policy in Maryland. Preservation Maryland is proud to have worked with our local partners through the Smarter Growth Alliance for Frederick County to achieve these successes and to have helped ensure a better future for residents.Continue Reading
On the evening of July 22, 2020, the House of Representatives approved one of the most significant pieces of conservation legislation in a generation, the Great American Outdoors Act, with broad bipartisan support. Having passed the Senate in June, the legislation is on its way to the President’s desk, who specifically requested the bill for his signature.Continue Reading
The House of Representatives has passed The Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2), a comprehensive infrastructure bill that includes enhancements and temporary emergency measures for the federal Historic Tax Credit, thanks in part to the advocacy of Preservation Maryland and our national partners.Continue Reading
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.Continue Reading
In Maryland, tax credits for rehab projects have revitalized communities statewide, saved thousands of historic buildings, and created billions in state revenue.
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.
Thanks to this program, nearly all Marylanders are just 15 minutes away from a state, local park or public open space.
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 agencies oversee key funding programs and policies that protect America’s historic resources from needless destruction.
State funding for preservation benefits all Marylanders – and has saved historic resources from Oakland to Ocean City.
Several key state agencies are charged with protecting Maryland’s history – a job that requires adequate resources.
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 Maryland’s traditional downtown economic and cultural districts are the cornerstones of local communities throughout the State of Maryland.