By Dana Cohen
Preservation Maryland is pleased to announce the second round of Best of Maryland award winners.
Best of Maryland awards shine a spotlight on the ceaseless work of Maryland’s volunteers, architects, artisans, legislators, and many more individuals who are doing the essential work of protecting the places that make Maryland such a special place to live, work, explore, and celebrate.
Senator Cory McCray, Senator Sarah Elfreth, Delegate Stephanie Smith, and Former Delegate Eric Luedtke received awards in the Preservation Champion category.
As the statewide historic preservation organization, Preservation Maryland recognizes exemplary people and projects in the field of preservation. Our Preservation Champion award honors elected officials who support historic preservation policy, programs, and funding – and recognize the importance of preserving Maryland heritage.
Senator Cory McCray
As the 45th District’s Senator, Cory is continuing his mission to bring greater levels of resources and equity to the City of Baltimore. McCray sponsored the 2022 legislation the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit – Funding and Extension (SB289/HB27), which was signed into law last year by Governor Hogan, Senate President Ferguson, and Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones. The legislation secured an additional $10M in the FY23 Budget, bringing the total amount of tax credits for FY23 to $22M, a drastic increase for a once chronically under-funded program. McCray also sponsored HB1048/SB953, establishing the Commission on African American History and Culture, to ensure historical institutions receive adequate funding.
Senator Sarah Elfreth
Elected in 2018 to represent Annapolis and southern Anne Arundel County, Senator Sarah Elfreth is the youngest woman ever elected to the Maryland Senate. She is passionately committed to serving her constituents both in the State House and in the community. Senator Elfreth sponsored The Great Maryland Outdoors Act, which included $70 million for critical maintenance, $80 million for capital improvements and acquisitions, and $12 million for 100 new park staff in the bill – and headed the commission that produced the legislation. Representing Annapolis, Elfreth understands that saving communities and historic places from an increasingly unstable climate takes real action – and well-crafted policy. Preservation Maryland has worked closely with Senator Elfreth as we partner with the City of Annapolis and NPS Chesapeake to save the Burtis House, Annapolis’ last standing waterman’s cottage, imminently threatened by rising sea levels. Senator Elfreth work has been recognized nationally for climate resiliency.
Delegate Stephanie Smith
Delegate Stephanie Smith represents the 45th District (Northeast/East Baltimore) in the Maryland House of Delegates and is Chair of the Baltimore City House Delegation. Smith also sponsored the 2022 legislation the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit – Funding and Extension (SB289/HB27), signed into law last year, that secured an additional funding for the vital tax credit program. A longtime champion for historic preservation and a voice for revitalization for Baltimore City. During the 2020 legislative session, Smith sponsored and helped to successfully pass the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2020. A provision of the legislation allows for large commercial tax credits to be transferred, permitting funds to go toward the projects themselves and not to transactional costs.
Former State Delegate Eric Luedtke
Now Chief Legislative Officer to Governor Wes Moore, Luedtke represented District 14 in Montgomery County and served as the House Majority Leader from 2019 and 2023. He provided key legislative support in the effort to secure an additional $10M in the FY23 Budget with the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit – Funding and Extension (SB289/HB27), passed in 2022. Along with Senator Elfreth, Luedtke also sponsored The Great Maryland Outdoors Act and led the commission that produced the legislation.
As has been customary the last couple of years, we announced three of our Best in Maryland awards at our phoenix rising event in October 2022. The artisan Award went to Mark Weist of Deadrise Maritime for work on Annapolis Maritime Museum’s Skipjack Wilma Lee, The Phoenix Award went to Guilford Hall Brewery, and Senator Ron Young received the President’s Leadership Award.