ESSEX NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA LEGISLATION FINALLY PASSES SENATE
BILL FOR FIVE NATIONAL HERITAGE AREAS PASSES THE SENATE NATIONAL PARK COMMITTEE
The Essex National Heritage Area, along with four other heritage areas across the country, received news today that legislation `’re-authorizing” its federal funding has passed the Senate Committee on National Parks.
Senators Edward Kennedy and John Kerry co-sponsored Bill S817, along with senators from Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. ‘We are very pleased the senators have taken a leadership role in championing this legislation,’ said Annie Harris, ENHC Executive Director. ‘Doing so this early in the current legislative session could allow for passage of the bill during 2007, which would really be exciting.’
Heritage areas must be periodically re-authorized to continue to receive federal funding. They are also required to supplement these funds through grants, private donations, and fundraising activities. ‘We commit this federal funding to heritage preservation, grants, trail development projects and education programs all around the county, all of which can enrich the quality of life for residents and spur tourism that helps strengthen the local economy,’ explained Harris. ‘This legislation is an essential step in ensuring our future as a regional venture and in helping preserve the area’s unique heritage for future generations to explore and enjoy.’
The Essex National Heritage Area is one of nine national heritage areas originally designated in the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996. The federal designation of national heritage area recognizes a region’s efforts to identify and preserve resources that define nationally important places and events in American history.
“The Essex National Heritage Area plays a key role in our region’s civic life by ensuring that our rich history helps to guide our future,” Senator Kennedy said. “We’ve built a great partnership over the years, and I’m grateful our congressional colleagues have again recognized the importance of the work being done by the Essex National Heritage Commission.”
ENHC provides programs throughout Essex County, including restoration of historic properties, educational grants, heritage development, and the area’s most popular event ‘ Trails & Sails: A Weekend of Walks and Water ‘ this year on Sept 28-30. ENHC also provides grants to support the area’s 10 Visitor Centers, located in Gloucester, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lawrence, Lynn, Newburyport, Peabody, Salem, Salisbury and Saugus. ‘Historically, for every dollar we have received in federal funds, we have been able to leverage an additional $3.00 to $4.00 in public and private funding, which we invest in programs and projects throughout Essex County,’ explained Thomas M. Leonard, ENHC President Emeritus.
“This legislation will help ENHC continue to bring tourists and increased economic activity to the historic sites in Essex County. We are very pleased that Senators Kennedy and Kerry have secured this reauthorization bill for the Essex National Heritage Area,” said Laurence Harrington, President of ENHC and Senior Vice President, Bank of America, Burlington.
Congressman John Tierney has co-sponsored a related bill, HR 1483, in the House. “I am tremendously pleased that the senate committee passed this legislation. The work of the ENHC is vital to maintaining the quality of life in the region,’ Tierney said.
About the Essex National Heritage Commission
The Essex National Heritage Commission (ENHC) is the non-profit management entity for Essex National Heritage Area, one of twenty-three heritage partnership parks of the National Park Service. Working in collaboration with the National Park Service, the ENHC promotes public/private partnerships and develops and implements programs that enhance, preserve and encourage regional awareness of the unique historic, cultural and natural resources found within the Area. For more information, visit the ENHC web-site at www.essexheritage.org or call (978) 740-0444.