Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area Seeks Grant Applicants to Compete for State Heritage Funds

The Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area is now seeking matching grant applications for projects that enhance heritage tourism, museum programming, stewardship, and community heritage activities in Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot Counties. The final application deadline is February 26 for nonprofit groups and governmental agencies who wish to compete for up to $100,000 for capital project grants (bricks-and-mortar improvements or property acquisition) and $50,000 for program grants. The funds administered by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) would be available in the state’s eleven certified heritage areas for capital and non-capital projects starting after July 2, 2010, if funding is approved by the legislature.

Applicants for the grants must be located in the state-certified portion of the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area, which currently includes most unincorporated areas of Caroline, Kent, Queen Anne’s, and Talbot Counties. It also includes the following towns: Betterton, Centreville, Chestertown, Easton, Federalsburg, Goldsboro, Greensboro, Hillsboro, Millington, Queen Anne, Queenstown, Oxford, Preston, Ridgely, Rock Hall, and Sudlersville.

Project applications are first reviewed by Eastern Shore Heritage, Inc., the managing entity for the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area. Project requirements include grantees providing a match of at least 100 percent. A minimum of 75 percent of the match must be in cash; the remainder may be in donated services and products or volunteer labor. Non-capital grants of up to $50,000 are available for planning, design, interpretation, and programming. Capital grants of up to $100,000 are available for projects or activities within designated Heritage Area Target Investment Zones for acquisition of real property (fee title or interest other than fee title), development, rehabilitation, restoration, and pre-development project costs such as the preparation of specifications, architectural designs, or engineering.

Target Investment Zones must already exist or be capable of being designated by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority by April 2010, which requires a completed application by late February for approval by local elected officials. Betterton, Centreville, Chestertown, Denton, Easton, Federalsburg, and Stevensville are designated Target Investment Zones. Many others are proposed in the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area Management Plan, which can be found atwww.storiesofthechesapeake.org.

For further information about the application process, contact Elizabeth Watson, executive director of the Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area at 410-778-1460 or ewatson@storiesofthechesapeake.org. The deadlines for submitting the application’s two-page cover sheet and intention to file a capital grant is February 11. The deadline for final grant applications and 10 copies is February 26. For more information about the statewide grant competition, please visit the Maryland Historical Trust’s web site at http://mht.maryland.gov.

The Stories of the Chesapeake Heritage Area represents the collaborative efforts of nearly 60 nonprofit and governmental institutions and more than 600 local businesses involved in heritage tourism in four counties and 21 towns. Since the heritage area was certified by the State of Maryland in 2005, 31 nonprofit and governmental bodies have received more than a million dollars funding from either Eastern Shore Heritage, Inc., or the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, leveraging a further $5.8 million in cash and in-kind support from local, private, federal, and volunteer sources.

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