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Financial Incentives in Maryland Heritage Areas

Intent to Apply forms are now being accepted for the MHAA FY 2023 grant round. The deadline is 11:59 pm on Friday, January 28, 2022. The Intent to Apply form is the required first step in a two-step application process and must be submitted through our online grant application portal.

Full applications are due later in the spring, with the deadlines established by the local heritage areas.

Click here to start a new Intent to Apply form. To continue a FY2023 application you have already started, please click the My Grant Account button at the top of the left-hand sidebar to log in.

MHAA will be hosting a series of webinars and Q&A sessions for the FY2023 MHAA grant round. Please click here for a flyer with full information, and a link to register.

Mackall Barn

Financial incentives for the Maryland Heritage Areas Program are awarded by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA). To apply, an organization must meet one of the following criteria:

  • be located within the boundaries of a certified Heritage Area, or
  • have a project that takes place within the boundaries of a certified Heritage Area.

Don't know if you’re in a certified Heritage Area? Check here or contact one of the staff members listed on the Maryland Heritage Areas Program page.


Grants

Eligible Activities

MHAA provides dollar-for-dollar matching grants to nonprofit organizations and government entities for capital and non-capital projects located within a Heritage Area. Grants can support projects involving historical, cultural or natural resources, sites, events or facilities. Eligible projects must have a heritage tourism component or contribute to research that will directly inform a heritage tourism product. Full details are available in the MHAA project grant guidelines.

Non-Capital. Grants of up to $50,000, with a required one-to-one match of non-state support, are available for non-capital projects, which can include Planning (research, field investigation, data recovery, feasibility and planning studies, design documents and other planning activities that support the heritage area); Interpretation (exhibits, signage, pedestrian wayfinding signage, interpretive brochures, educational programs and materials, other interpretive activities that support the heritage area); and Programming (seminars, conferences, performances, reenactments, commemorations, festivals).

Capital. Grants of up to $100,000, with a required one-to-one match of non-state support, are available for capital projects, which can include Acquisition (fee title of real property, interest other than fee title (i.e. easement) of real property); Development (repair or alteration of an existing building, structure or site, new construction for heritage tourism purposes); Rehabilitation (returning a property to a state of utility); Restoration (accurately depicting a property as it appeared at a particular period of time, removal of features from another time period, reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period); and Pre-Development (plans and specifications, fees for architectural design and engineering).  Capital projects must meet the requirements of the Targeted Investment Policy for Capital Projects.

Information about grants for Heritage Area management and marketing can be found here.


Loans

Loans are available to nonprofit organizations, local jurisdictions, individuals and businesses to assist with the preservation of heritage tourism resources and the enhancement of heritage attractions and visitor services located within a Heritage Area. The maximum loan commitment made for any specific project is limited by available funds. Up to 50 percent of the total project cost will be provided based on an assessment of the applicant’s financial need. Refinancing will not be considered part of the project cost. Loan projects must meet the requirements of the Targeted Investment Policy for Capital Projects.

Eligible Activities

Acquisition (fee title of real property, interest other than fee title (i.e. easement) of real property); Development (repair or alteration of an existing building, structure or site, new construction for heritage tourism purposes); Rehabilitation (returning a property to a state of utility); Restoration (accurately depicting a property as it appeared at a particular period of time, removal of features from another time period, reconstruction of missing features from the restoration period); Leasehold improvements (rehabilitation, restoration, or minor new construction activities are eligible uses if the term of the lease is at least equal to the term of the loan); and Purchase of equipment, furnishings, inventory.


Tax Credits

In addition to grants and loans, heritage tourism projects may also qualify for special tax credits. Within certified Heritage Area boundaries, a Maryland Historic Revitalization Tax Credit of up to 20% of the eligible costs of rehabilitation may be available for:

  • historic structures that are eligible for, but not listed on the National Register of Historic Places that meet the requirements of the Targeted Investment Policy for Capital Projects; or
  • non-historic structures that meet the Targeted Investment Criteria and that have been certified by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority as contributing to the significance of the Certified Heritage Area.

These Maryland Heritage Area Program benefits are in addition to the more standard tax credits offered by the state for qualified rehabilitation work on qualified historic structures. For full details, please visit the Maryland Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Program page.