Finding funds for your preservation rehabilitation project can be complex and confusing. Fortunately, in Maryland, there are many programs designed to help private property owners maintain and rehabilitate their historic structure. Historic tax credits are a critical tool and may be just the funding boost you need to get your project completed!
One of the most popular community engagement activities in Smart Growth is the Main Street Program. In 1998, the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development created a comprehensive downtown revitalization program called Main Street Maryland. For more than 20 years, this program has improved the economy, appearance, and image of Maryland’s downtown districts.
Snowshoers near Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, 2018. Photo by Will Williams for Maryland DNR.
Poll: Significant Majority of Marylanders Support Program Open Space
02/15/2021 By Elly Colmers Cowan
In a recent statewide poll conducted of likely voters, 90% of Marylanders expressed support for Program Open Space, a state program that supports the acquisition, conservation, and improvements at Maryland’s natural resources Additionally, 64% of Marylanders were opposed to diverting funds from Program Open Space for other budget uses.
Partners for Open Space, a statewide coalition of recreation, environmental, agricultural, and historic preservation organizations, recently convened a poll of likely Maryland voters to better understand residents’ views on Program Open Space, which supports the preservation of open spaces, parks, farms, forests, and cultural and historic sites. The results of the poll, conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates and New Bridge Strategy made it clear that the majority of Marylanders support this essential program and oppose any funding cuts or diversions.
KEY POLL RESULTS
90% of Maryland residents support Program Open Space
80% of Maryland residents think supporting land for agricultural and local food is important
83% of Maryland residents agree that spending time outdoors has been even more important during the pandemic.
92% of Maryland Residents support conserving natural areas like forests, farms, and wetlands to help remove carbon from the air.
Majority of Marylanders oppose diverting dedicated Program Open Space funds
More than half of Marylanders support protecting our state’s cultural and historic sites and battlefields
These poll results underscore the value of open space to Marylanders, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Many residents rely on visits to parks and open spaces as safe and enjoyable places to escape from the ongoing quarantine blues. Indeed, 2020 saw more than 17 million visitors to state and local parks by October alone.
Responding to the results of the poll, Elly Cowan, Director of Advocacy for Preservation Maryland and Smart Growth Maryland stated, “The last year has driven home the importance of open space to the quality of life and health, both physical and mental, of Marylanders. With an overwhelming majority of Marylanders supporting Program Open Space and more than 3 out of 5 Marylanders opposing diverting funds away from the program, now is certainly not the time for the General Assembly to cut funding to programs that support the maintenance, acquisition and preservation of resources that are so important to residents and those visiting our state.”
Funding for Program Open Space also means an investment in Maryland’s economic future. Outdoor recreation, including walking at historic sites and at state and local parks, is a proven economic driver for Maryland, with funds generated from within the community as well as from visitors coming to Maryland specifically for recreational activities and historic experiences. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, outdoor recreation in Maryland annually generates $14 billion in consumer spending, supports 109,000 jobs, generates $4.4 billion in wages and salaries, and produces nearly $951 million annually in state and local tax revenue. In 2019, heritage tourism, which Program Open Space supports through funding the state’s 13 Heritage Areas, added $2.4 billion in annual economic impact, $319.8 million in state and local tax impact, and employed nearly 34,000 people.
The Governor’s FY22 Budget includes full funding for Program Open Space. As the budget moves through the General Assembly this session, Preservation Maryland will be advocating that the full funding remain intact and will oppose any attempts to cut or divert funding from this essential program.