CROWNSVILLE — The Hogan administration July 11 announced 109 matching grants totaling $5 million were awarded to Maryland nonprofits, local jurisdictions, and other heritage tourism organizations by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. These grant funds support heritage tourism projects and activities that draw visitors to and expand economic development and tourism-related job creation in Maryland’s 13 certified heritage areas. In FY19, the Hogan administration doubled the funding for the MHAA grants program.
“Heritage tourism is one of the building blocks of our overall tourism strategy in Maryland,” Gov. Larry Hogan said. “By preserving these historic, natural, and cultural treasures, we attract visitors to our state, and ensure that these unique communities continue to grow and thrive well into the future.”
On the Eastern Shore, Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area received $755,178 in grants.
Through the Stories if the Chesapeake Heritage Area, Eastern Shore Heritage Inc., serving Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties received a $25,000 block grant and a $33,000 management grant.
The Kent County Arts Council received $100,000 for phase 2 of the Raimond Arts Building renovation project in Chestertown. Sultana Education Foundation is slated to receive $99,000 for the planning and implementation of the Lawrence Wetlands Preserve on 8.5 acres in Chestertown. Washington College will see $89,164 for a Chesapeake Heartland African American Humanities Truck. The Historical Society of kent County is on the list for $21,000 for the Bordley History Center in Chestertown.
In Queen Anne’s County, $50,000 was awarded to the Queen Anne’s County Office of Tourism for redesign of the Chesapeake Heritage and Visitors Center. The list shows $25,000 for the Mary Edwardine Bourke Emory Foundation for work on the Bloomfield structure in Centreville. The Friends of Wye Mill will see $25,200 for a comprehensive interpretation plan.
“As chair of the MHAA, I am able to witness the commitment and dedication to the places and the people that have made our history,” said Secretary of Planning Robert McCord. “As a student of history, it is a great honor to help these areas thrive and make their stories known to broader audiences.”
Heritage areas foster broad public-private partnerships to preserve and enhance the best of Maryland’s historic sites and towns, unspoiled natural landscapes, and enduring traditions. These tangible links to both place and past help residents recognize their communities have a special piece of the American story to treasure and share with others and, in doing so, contribute to the economy of Maryland’s communities by preserving and enhancing places that attract heritage tourists.
Every dollar of MHAA state grant funding has a return on investment of $4.45, generates $19.8 million in state and local taxes, and creates 3,146 jobs annually.