REVITALIZING COMMUNITIES IS COMPLEX AND CHALLENGING WORK. FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES, THE WORK OFTEN COMES WITH EVEN GREATER OBSTACLES AND HURDLES TO OVERCOME. THE CREATION OF THIS RURAL RESOURCE GUIDE, FIRST RELEASED IN 2019 AND RECENTLY UPDATED IN 2023, IS PART OF PRESERVATION MARYLAND’S ONGOING EFFORT TO SUPPORT THIS CRITICAL WORK.
The organization’s longstanding work in rural regions of the state was the inspiration for compiling this guide. Having seen projects and efforts stall due to a lack of resources or awareness of available support, the goal of this guide is to connect communities to the tools and resources they need to succeed and to identify useful case studies from which communities can draw inspiration and assistance.
THIS RESOURCE GUIDE IS DIVIDED INTO SPECIFIC CATEGORIES OF SUPPORT:
grants and loans
county-specific resources – case studies
Often, before beginning a project a thorough review of all potentially useful resources is a good first step. This guide is designed to assist with that step and to provide an at-a-glance level of information on the key programs that support redevelopment and revitalization in rural Maryland. Depending on your project, the next step may involve digging deeper on the specific program’s website or by connecting with someone in your community who may have more information. The case studies show how it can all come together in the form of a project – and while not every aspect of the case studies may apply to your effort they tend to underscore the diverse funding streams that make it happen and the tenacity that anyone must have to pull off this work in rural communities.
This guide’s creation was made possible thanks to the generous financial support of the Rural Maryland Council. The Rural Maryland Council brings together citizens, community-based organizations, federal, state, county and municipal government officials as well as representatives of the for-profit and nonprofit sectors to collectively address the needs of Rural Maryland communities. Although many may think of Maryland as an urbanized state, 75% of its counties are considered by the state to be rural and struggle with the challenges of revitalization and redevelopment encountered in more traditionally rural states and regions.
Historic structures require significant repair and upkeep – but with routine maintenance the time and expense associated with those repairs can be substantially reduced. Equally important as maintaining the structure is making sure that those repairs are safe for historic buildings. Often, preservation-safe repairs cost the same or slightly more but can save property owners in the long-run. These preservation best practices are not a comprehensive or complete guide to every issue a property owner will confront but are a jumping off point for your next preservation project.
As a result of advocacy work by Smart Growth Maryland and our local smart growth and land conservation partners, the Maryland Board of Public Works voted on October 21, 2020 to approve the expansion of the Zekiah Swamp Rural Legacy Area in Charles County, essentially doubling its size.
Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Steny Hoyer, with Senator Chris Van Hollen as an original co-sponsor, have introduced federal legislation that would designate the existing Southern Maryland State Heritage Area known as Destination Southern Maryland as a National Heritage Area.