On July 13, 2006, Carroll County's efforts to increase awareness about our regional heritage got a major boost when the State of Maryland certified the Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area (HCWHA) as the eleventh heritage area in the state. The County and its municipalities, in partnership with Frederick and Washington counties, were certified through Maryland's Heritage Preservation and Tourism Areas Program. Certification enables Carroll County businesses and organizations to use State grants, loans, and tax incentives to undertake projects that support the heritage area's goals and capitalize on the area's significant Civil War-related history. As the 150th anniversary of the Civil War approaches, the efforts of the HCWHA will ensure that Carroll County's place in Civil War history gets the recognition it deserves and that the county's businesses, heritage organizations, and visitor service providers will benefit from this distinction.

The goals and recommendations for the heritage area are outlined in the management plan, which was adopted as an amendment to the comprehensive and master plans for the County and its municipalities. The management plan is available for review on the Internet at www.heartofthecivilwar.org. Hard copies also are available for review in the County Department of Planning.

Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) Grants

One of the most direct benefits of participating in the Heritage Areas Program is the opportunity for heritage organizations and local governments to take advantage of the grants and loans made available through the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority. Grants of up to $50,000 are available for non-capital projects (planning, design, interpretation and programming) that will encourage preservation, interpretation, and economic development in the heritage area. Capital grants of up to $100,000 are available only within Target Investment Zones (TIZs). Capital grants may be used for acquisition, development, rehabilitation, restoration, and pre-development costs. Proposed activities must address or complete a priority activity identified in and consistent with the goals, objectives, strategies, and actions outlined in the approved heritage area Management Plan.

MHAA capital and non-capital grants applications are reviewed in the spring and granted for the upcoming fiscal year. To review eligibility criteria and obtain the most current MHAA project application packages, visit http://mht.maryland.gov/heritageareas_partners.shtml/. Applicants submit proposals to their local heritage area grants contact in January, and are encouraged to discuss potential proposals with local contacts as soon as possible. The Carroll County contact is:

Carroll County Bureau of Comprehensive Planning
225 North Center Street
Westminster, MD 21157-5194
Phone: 410-386-5145; 1-888-302-8978, x2145
FAX: 410-386-2120
Email: ccplanning@carrollcountymd.gov

HCWHA Mini-Grants

As part of its operating grant, the HCWHA has had the option to administer its own mini-grant program for the past two years. This very popular program offers competitive mini-grants of between $500 and $2,500 to heritage sites and organizations within the heritage area to develop new and innovative programs, partnerships, exhibits, tours, events, and other heritage tourism-related initiatives that are consistent with the goals and priorities stated in the HCWHA management plan. The mini-grant program deadlines occur every few months and grants are approved until the funds have been exhausted. Mini-grant deadlines and applications are available on-line at www.heartofthecivilwar.org or by calling the heritage area office at 301-644-4042.

For more information about grants or TIZs, contact Elizabeth Scott Shatto, Director, Heart of the Civil War Heritage Area, 19 East Church Street, Frederick, MD 21701 301-600-4042, lshatto@fredco-md.net