BERLIN– More than half a million dollars in grant funding will make possible several projects in Worcester County.
The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) announced that Beach to Bay Heritage Area received $528,000 in grants to fund projects ranging from restoration work to new exhibits. Funding will help initiatives at Furnace Town and Assateague State Park, among other projects.
“These funds allow much needed programs and projects to become a reality,” said Lisa Challenger, executive director of Beach to Bay Heritage Area. “The MHAA grant program is a great way to foster broad public-private partnerships to preserve and enhance the best of our historic sites and towns, unspoiled natural landscapes, and enduring traditions.”
In late July, the Hogan administration announced $5.1 million in awards to Maryland nonprofits, local jurisdictions and heritage organizations by the MHAA. The grant funds are meant to support heritage tourism projects and activities that attract visitors and expand economic development.
“Heritage tourism is an economic development tool that creates jobs and brings visitors to the state while making our communities better places to live and work,” Gov. Larry Hogan said. “Our administration is proud that this funding will allow for 107 projects to move forward and congratulate Maryland’s Heritage Areas and their tourism partners for their support in changing Maryland for the better.”
Locally, projects include the construction of picnic tables with storage bins at Assateague State Park, new exhibits at the historic Germantown School and an expansion of the Ocean City Life-Saving Station Museum. Furnace Town received $46,750 for renovations.
“We are delighted to be the recipient of this award,” said Claudia Nagle, executive director of Furnace Town Historic Site. “The Nassawango Iron Furnace is a vital piece of Worcester County and Lower Shore history. The award is a significant opportunity to ensure the furnace and its history are preserved for future generations.”
Nagle said the grant allocation would be used to evaluate and restore the furnace structurally, as this is the first phase of a multistep preservation plan to restore the furnace fully.
Challenger said she was thrilled to see several first-time and minority applicants receive funding in this round. She believes the projects funded will spur heritage tourism, bringing jobs and visitors to the state.
“The Beach to Bay Heritage Area contributes to our local economy by preserving and enhancing the places that attract cultural and heritage tourists,” she said.
The MHAA funding included a $100,000 Beach to Bay Heritage Area management grant, $46,750 for Furnace Town, $31,281 for Germantown School, $50,000 for Friends of Assateague State Park and $50,000 for the Ocean City Life-Saving Station’s restoration of the historic bank building. Funding was also allocated to a skipjack in Crisfield, Tyree African Methodist Episcopal Church, Chesapeake Country All American Road and an indigenous archive project for the Lower Eastern Shore.