Advocacy

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

Advocacy Issues

Maryland Historic Revitalization Tax Credit

In Maryland, tax credits for rehab projects have saved thousands of historic buildings statewide 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.

Current Priorities

Rather than just saving one building, aggressive advocacy gives us an opportunity to save thousands of buildings.

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.

2019 Priority Preservation & Conservation Issues

Report: The 2019 Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly came to a close on Monday, April 8, 2019. After 90 days of championing key bills and testifying on many other pieces of important legislation, it is safe to say that Preservation Maryland had one of its busiest legislative sessions in recent history. With Session adjourned until January 2020, we are happy to report that we were able to accomplish significant advances for preservation and smart growth in Maryland.

Read our 2019 end of session report

Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit

The revitalization of Maryland communities is fueled by the Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit program. Senator Bill Ferguson and Delegate Brooke Lierman of Baltimore’s District 46 plans to introduce legislation that will strengthen this effective community redevelopment tool.

HISTORIC TAX CREDITS WORK FOR MARYLAND

As of FY19, Maryland invested only $9M in the Heritage Structure Rehabilitation 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. This legislation will require the Governor to appropriate at least $20M annually for this essential program and will extend the authorization of the program through 2024.

COMMUNITY REDEVELOPMENT AND HISTORIC PRESERVATION

We recognize the positive impact that historic preservation projects can have for the surrounding community. This new legislation will help incentivize the use of historic buildings to create affordable housing. The forthcoming bill would:

  1. Better convey the catalytic nature of historic tax credit projects by changing the name of the program to the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit,
  2. Allow the state Historic Tax Credit to be used more easily for contiguous small residential projects,
  3. Allow the state Historic Tax Credit to be transferred outside of development partnerships. This would go a long way to offset the damaging impact the change to the federal Historic Tax Credit, that came out of recent tax reform, will have on community redevelopment, and
  4. Create two pilot resource specific pilot programs for agricultural structures in rural communities and mid-century modern resources in suburban Maryland.

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 is still at starvation level. We must and will do more to support those safe-guarding our state’s rich and unique history.

CURRENT GRANT PROGRAM FUNDING: $800K
TOTAL FY20 REQUEST: $1M

  1. Capital Grant Program
    Current Funding: $600k
    FY20 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: $0
    FY20 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.

Smart Growth Investment Fund

The Smart Growth Investment Fund was established to help provide loan guarantees for smart growth infill projects. The Fund will help incentivize growth and revitalization in existing communities, protecting critical natural, cultural, and historic resources from development and sprawl. Legislation this Session (SB3) will appropriate $7M for the Fund.

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 supports the repayment of previous diversions from the fund.

Advocacy Updates

Smart Growth Maryland is proud to have partnered with the Howard County Sierra Club and The People’s Voice, LLC to create the Smarter Growth Alliance for Howard County, which brings together organizations focused on sustainable development, healthy communities, and protection of natural resources for information sharing, strategizing, and coordinating advocacy efforts.

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Following the selection of Senator Bill Ferguson as the next President of the Senate of Maryland, Preservation Maryland Executive Director Nicholas Redding issued the following statement:

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The Woodberry neighborhood’s request for local historic district designation will have its first hearing in front of the Baltimore City Commission For Historical & Architectural Preservation (CHAP) on October 8, 2019. This is an essential step in protecting the historic character of the neighborhood that recently saw the startling demolition of two stone houses from the 1840s.

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09/17/2019
By Nicholas A. Redding

The Aftermath of Antietam

As the sun set on September 17, 1862, Sharpsburg, Maryland had just witnessed the single bloodiest day in American history – a day that also forever changed the tiny rural town.

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Tagged In: Advocacy, Smart Growth,

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) has narrowed the potential third Chesapeake Bay bridge to three corridors, all of which originate in Anne Arundel County. Smart Growth Maryland supports the no-build option.

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08/30/2019
By Smart Growth Maryland

Victory Update: Smart Growth Win in Southern Maryland

In a major win for the environment and smart growth, earlier this week the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) denied a controversial application to construct two utility-scale solar developments proposed for forested land in western Charles County.

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One of the largest and most visible artifacts of the Baltimore Museum of Industry (BMI) is the WWII-era shipbuilding crane towering over the campus. In partnership with the BMI through our Six-to-Fix program, Preservation Maryland successfully advocated for state funds to repair and repaint the iconic crane.

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The 2014 application by the State of Maryland to recognize and protect Mallows Bay has been approved by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration early this month. The designation will help protect the natural and cultural resources of the 18-square mile area in Charles County, Maryland.

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In response to the startling demolitions of two historic stone homes from the 1840s in Baltimore’s Woodberry neighborhood on May 21, 2019, Preservation Maryland issued the following statement:

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For many years the historic Glenn Dale Hospital complex was de facto protected from incongruous development by a long-standing deed restriction. Now that there is a committed interest from a team of public agencies, preservation organizations, and private firms, in the redevelopment of the site, the deed restriction was deemed unnecessarily strict.

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