Heritage Neighborhoods Program About the Program
On Saturdays in the summer, a free shuttle whisks visitors from the Inner Harbor Visitor Center up to the Maryland Zoo in Druid Hill Park. Sometimes the shuttle driver would wind through the city streets instead of taking the Jones Falls Expressway. Visitors would get an up-close view of Baltimore’s historic neighborhoods, but wouldn’t know about the centuries of history and heritage these communities hold. Nothing visually communicates this past.
The heritage area is launching a new program that will help neighborhoods make connections to history and provide ways to share this history with visitors and residents alike. Through mini-grants and technical assistance, the Heritage Neighborhood Program (HNP) will help historic neighborhoods to highlight their connection to broad swaths of Baltimore history. Mini-grants will fund projects such as streetscape improvements, interpretive signage and wayfinding, community-based planning, and festivals and workshops. Our goal: help our historic neighborhoods build a sense of place, improve life quality, and sew the seeds for heritage tourism.
Engagement with the neighborhoods will begin in January 2018 with an online survey asking residents to share their thoughts on why their place in Baltimore matters. The survey will gather data on what historic resources, people, and events are treasured by the community and help BNHA fine-tune the overall program. Neighborhoods with 50 or more unique survey responses will quality for a $250 mini-grant.
During 2017, BNHA compiled inventories of neighborhood cultural, natural, and historic resources and crafted a visitor-readiness index. This background information will help BNHA target neighborhoods that in the past have been unable to attract funding for heritage tourism projects. It will also be able to help the heritage area track the growth and success of these investments.
Whether a neighborhood played a part in the history of Fort McHenry or was once a center for immigrants seeking prosperity, the Heritage Neighborhood Program will let each community share its story. Through heritage tourism, these important neighborhoods can connect with each other, connect with the city as a whole, and connect with visitors exploring Baltimore.