Heritage areas are economic development tools because they strengthen and expand the growing heritage tourism segment
of the tourism industry. Defined as those who travel to experience the places and activities that authentically
represent the stores and people of the past, heritage tourists spend more money per day and stay longer than "
average" visitors, and they expect high-quality, authentic historical interpretation.
Tourism provides a strong boost to a community by diversifying its economy. Visitors spent $1.5 billion in Annapolis
and Anne Arundel County in 2005, generating $65.9 million in tourism tax revenue. Those figures translate into $222
savings in taxes for every household in the county.
Certified Maryland State Heritage Areas, including the Four Rivers Heritage Area, develop and support programs,
products, projects and activities which enhance the visitor experience and encourage heritage tourism. Through grant
programs and technical assistance, regional heritage sites and organizations are able to enhance their facilities and
upgrade their public offerings. In terms of the measurable impact of this funding, a 2003 financial analysis of the
state heritage areas program, "Investing in our Communities," (available at
www.mht.maryland.gov) indicated that every grant dollar
invested in the state program generates a total of $4.61 in annual, ongoing, state and local tax revenues.
Since Four Rivers was certified by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority in 2001, making its partners eligible for
grants and low-interest business loans, more than $1.431 million in matching grants and loans have come into our
community through this program. Leveraging other funding, the grants have supported projects with total costs of more
than $6 million.
The Maryland Heritage Areas grant program offers matching capital grants of up to $100,000 and matching non-capital
grants of up to $50,000 to nonprofit organizations and municipalities within the borders of a state-certified heritage
area. The capital grants are eligible only within certain specially-designated "target investment zones"
within the heritage area. Our approved Management Plan contains maps that show the borders of our four target
investment zones—Historic Annapolis, Eastport, Edgewater, and Deale.
Eligible non-capital grant activities include planning, design, interpretation, and programming, which will support
the local certified heritage area's mission and goals as stated in the Management Plan. To see a listing of
Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grants awarded, see "Grants Awarded."
With support from the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Anne Arundel County, and the City of Annapolis, Four
Rivers created a mini-grant program in 2004. Mini-grants of up to $2,500 are available annually to nonprofit
heritage-related organizations with heritage area borders to develop new products, activities and programs that
incorporate our interpretive themes, foster collaborative partnerships, and enhance heritage tourism. Over the past
four years, 35 mini-grants have helped support development of new products and activities. Some of these projects have
been small; others have leveraged significant funding from other sources for larger projects. To see a listing of Four
Rivers Heritage Area mini grants awarded, see "Mini-Grant Program."