HAGERSTOWN, M.d. (WDVM) — The Hagerstown City Council voted to approve expansion of the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area on Tuesday.
With so many local economies having been rocked by the loss in tourism due to the coronavirus, the city was looking for ways to replace some of that revenue. Hagerstown is home to some significant locations from the Civil War, and an expanded partnership with the Heritage Area Authority could help to revitalize parts of the city’s legacy.
“It’s a powerful organization promoting and preserving our history and our heritage,” said Dan Spedden, president of Visit Hagerstown. “But they’re also a granting organization. And to be eligible for the grants you have to be in the heritage area. So quite often, grant eligibility is one of the top needs identified for a boundary amendment.”
According to Spedden, who is also a member of the board of directors for the Heritage Area Authority, places that could see a boost from a heritage grant include the Aviation Museum and the Saylor House on Antietam Creek. This extra funding can also lead to extra protections for the historic areas.
“The heritage area is not very restrictive. But when we give money for a large capital project, usually there’s a piece taken out for preservation on the site,” said Spedden.