Sen. Katie Fry Hester: Warfield Complex can be a model for state investment in preservation projects

By Katie Fry Hester | Carroll County Times | Jan 26, 2022

Across Maryland, a number of former government complexes sit vacant, and have become a large expense for Maryland’s taxpayers. In Anne Arundel County, for example, since the Crownsville Hospital Center was closed in 2004, the state has spent more than $2 million annually to keep it mothballed, secure, and mowed — despite the fact that many of the buildings on the campus are ideal candidates for reuse. Without a plan in place or the resources to spur reuse, stories like this are all too common across the state.

Thankfully, this approach is finally about to change. This year we may see the stars align for Maryland’s historic infrastructure. In the context of a $2 billion state surplus and the recently passed federal infrastructure bill, this year we will also see the state Department of Housing and Community Development award the first Catalytic Tax Credit — aimed at spurring private sector investment in these types of resources and reducing long-term government expense. At the same time, state Sen. Cory McCray, Del. Eric Luedtke and myself have introduced legislation to increase funding for the Historic Revitalization Tax Credit Program to meet the statewide need for rehabilitating older structures — which in turn gives local economies a sustainable and long-term boost. Now is the time to invest in Maryland and leverage the embedded value of our historic buildings to catalyze our future economic growth.