The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development has announced the second recipient of the State of Maryland’s Catalytic Revitalization Tax Credit, designed to rehabilitate formerly government-owned properties for economic and community development purposes. The redevelopment of Fort Ritchie in Washington County will receive a state tax credit worth up to $15 million for the comprehensive redevelopment and reuse at the historic site of the former military base.
BALTIMORE (December 22, 2022) – After nearly two years of dedicated advocacy, Preservation Maryland and its national program, The Campaign for Historic Trades, is pleased to announce that the Frederick Jobs and Historic Preservation Training Center Land Acquisition Act was included in the recently passed year-end government spending bill and is expected to be immediately signed into law by President Biden. The legislation was sponsored by Senators Cardin and Van Hollen and by Congressman Trone in the House of Representatives.
The legislation, which was initially drafted by Preservation Maryland advocacy staff, provides the National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Training Center, located in Frederick, Maryland, with the congressional authority to acquire up to 20 acres to build out a fully functioning center for historic trades training. The vastly increased footprint will also permit the Center to expand and host more trainees in Frederick and around the nation.
In addition to leading the advocacy effort, Preservation Maryland President and CEO Nicholas Redding also testified before Congress in November of 2021 in support of its passage, alongside leading preservation and conservationists. Redding’s testimony before a congressional committee was a first in the organization’s history.
While a simple bill, its passage in one congress was anything but certain. Common sense preservation legislation often languishes, as leading national preservation groups know all too well. Fortunately, Preservation Maryland’s persistence coupled with tremendous congressional sponsorship in Maryland Senators Cardin and Van Hollen and Congressmen Trone and their respective staff, led to its passage in the 117th Congress.
Nicholas Redding, Preservation Maryland President, and CEO, explained,
“Tackling federal legislation is perhaps the most complex advocacy goal for a statewide organization – it’s a task that confounds even the most sophisticated national organizations – so for Preservation Maryland to take the lead on this effort and see it through in one Congress is something to be celebrated.” Redding continued, “This legislation isn’t just about buying land – it’s about investing in our communities and building a workforce equal to the opportunity before us.”
With passage secured, the next phase of the complex project begins. Fortunately, the property has been identified and is owned by the City of Frederick, which is both a willing seller and partner. As the project develops, Preservation Maryland will update its followers and partners on opportunities to get engaged and supportive of the work ahead.
A special thank you to our partner the Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) and its superintendent Moss Rudley for their continued partnership.
We are closing in on the last few weeks of an extremely busy 90-day legislative session, and Preservation Maryland is staying engaged in Annapolis, with the organization championing several key bills and testifying on many other important pieces of legislation.
With only 90 days, the legislative process must move quickly, so by the 69th day, each Chamber must send to the other Chamber those bills it intends to pass. In other words, in order to continue on their journey to become law, all bills must be voted out of committee and cross over into the opposite chamber by the so-called crossover deadline. Those bills that do not make this deadline have little likelihood of passing that year.
Since the start of the 2022 session of the Maryland General Assembly, Preservation Maryland has provided written or oral testimony on many pieces of legislation, many of which have crossed over and are working their way through the opposite chamber, including:
Historic Revitalization Tax Credit – Funding and Extension (SB289/HB27)
Director of Government Relations Elly Cowan in Annapolis to Testify on SB289
Knowing the potential benefits the state would see with a well funded historic tax credit, both versions of this bill seek to increase fuding to the commercial programs of the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit. However, they have been amended differently in Committee. SB289 now funds the Competetive Commercial program at a minimum of $22M beginning in FY24 and keeps the annual funding of the Small Commercial program at $4 million beginning in FY24. HB27 funds the Competive Commercial at $16 million for FY25 and FY26 and $20 million for FY27 through FY31, increases the per-project cap to $5 million, and annually funds the Small Commercial program at $2 million beginning in FY24.
This legislation focuses on bringing service opportunities across Maryland into the 21st century. Among many other worthy goals, it would create a Maryland Historic Trades Corps to place young adults and veterans in regionally based work crews across Maryland to rehabilitate the state’s historic resources.
This sweeping legislation creates and funds a pathway for a State Park system that addresses needs for acquisition, accessibility, and equity. It seeks to invest in the parks Maryland already has while looking to expand the portfolio to ensure all Marylanders have public access to open space. The many laudable goals that would be achieved through the Maryland Great Outdoors Act include the investment in the preservation and maintenance of the vast number of historic and cultural resources in Maryland parks and the expansion to include the diverse histories of underrepresented communities.
The bill changes Maryland’s greenhouse gas reduction requirements to 60% below 2006 levels by 2032 and net-zero by 2045. The bill also calls on the Commission on Environmental Justice and Sustainable Communities to determine the percentage of state funds spent on climate change that must go to overburdened communities. It also creates a work group to protect impacted workers, as well as a Climate Justice Corps.
Advocacy Requires Your Support
Staying engaged over the entire 90-day session requires dedication, partnerships, and significant financial resources. There is still a lot of work to be done in the next few weeks to ensure our priorities are successful. Preservation Maryland is dependent on donor contributions to keep us on the ground in Annapolis making the case for preservation. Please consider making a gift to our advocacy fund to help support our essential work.