Congress Extends Baltimore National Heritage Area Funding by 15 Years
Congressman Kweisi Mfume and Senator Ben Cardin led effort on behalf of Maryland Congressional Delegation
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Kweisi Mfume (MD-07) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) announced passage of legislation they led to reauthorize the Baltimore National Heritage Area funding through 2037. The legislation, co-led by Congressmen Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02) and John Sarbanes (MD-03), ensures federal support for the Baltimore National Heritage Area’s efforts to promote and preserve Baltimore’s history and the ongoing efforts to highlight Baltimore’s contributions to our nation’s story. The legislation was passed by the U.S. Senate on December 20, 2022, and passed the U.S. House of Representatives today as one of the last actions by this Congress. It now goes to President Biden to be signed into law.
“There are so many stories to tell about every community in Baltimore. We have a rich history and legacy that needs to be told over and over again. Indeed, we hold the keys to many national treasures, big and small. The Baltimore National Heritage Area, which encompasses most of my Congressional District, serves a unique role in our City by attracting tourism, educating our youth, and celebrating this City’s history and culture,” said Congressman Mfume. “I am immensely proud to have successfully reauthorized the Baltimore National Heritage Area funding well before it was set to expire in 2024,” he concluded.
"The Baltimore National Heritage Area showcases the rich historic and cultural legacy of Maryland's largest city,” said Senator Cardin. “Extending this impactful federal designation ensures local agencies and non-profits can continue to recognize and protect our heritage resources and serve residents and visitors alike through recreational and educational opportunities."
Shauntee Daniels, Executive Director of the Baltimore National Heritage Area, said on the bill's passage: “It ensures that Baltimore’s strong connection to the history of the country is preserved for many generations to come. It also will continue to allow the National Heritage Area to invest in programs, projects and initiatives which are unique to Baltimore and our Nation’s history. It is our mission to work with public and private partners to create spaces that engage youth and adults to live, work and play.”
This legislation adopted, with technical corrections, the language of the Baltimore National Heritage Area Reauthorization Act that Congressman Mfume introduced as a standalone bill in March of 2022. Senator Cardin introduced an identical measure in the Senate on the same day.
Baltimore National Heritage Area Reauthorization – Additional Information
Continues Critical Federal Support to Preserve Historic Baltimore
- Prior to this bill’s passage, the Baltimore National Heritage Area was authorized by the federal government through 2024.
- If the federal government had not reauthorized the Baltimore National Heritage Area, it would have lost critical federal funding that supports its historical sites.
- The federal support goes to local agencies and non-profits who preserve and promote Baltimore’s pivotal role in our nation’s story and make strategic investments in cultural heritage tourism projects.
- The annual economic impact of the Baltimore National Heritage Area is more than $750 million, 6,400 jobs, and $61 million in state and tax revenue.
- The Baltimore National Heritage Area has served more than 15,000 youth from underserved communities and provides continuous operation and program support to 35 historic museums, cultural attractions, and historic neighborhoods through a competitive grant program.
- This bill extends the Baltimore National Heritage Area’s authorization until 2037 and modifies the boundary to include additional historic neighborhoods.
- More details about the Baltimore National Heritage Area can be found here: https://www.explorebaltimore.org/.