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Chesapeake Crossroads Heritage Area


(Formerly known as the Four Rivers Heritage Area)
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What is a heritage area?

Heritage areas are regions where historic structures, landscapes, cultural traditions, and other resources (such as parks and museums) work together to tell patterns of history unique to the location. The Chesapeake Crossroads (formerly Four Rivers) Heritage Area is one of 13 certified heritage areas in Maryland.

What do heritage areas do?

The mission of the Chesapeake Crossroads Heritage Area is to protect and strengthen the natural, historic, and cultural resources of the heritage area, to nurture their discovery through educational and recreational experiences for visitors and residents, and to promote the region’s rich legacy. As an economic development tool, Chesapeake Crossroads develops and supports activities and projects that enhance heritage tourism, a growing segment of the lucrative tourism industry.

What is the heritage area’s current boundary?

The Chesapeake Crossroads Heritage Area stretches from Sandy Point State Park at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, through southern Anne Arundel County, to Rose Haven at the Calvert County line. Framed by the Chesapeake Bay on the east and by Route 2/Solomon’s Island Road on the west, Chesapeake Crossroads reflects Maryland’s rich historic, cultural, and natural legacy. The incorporated municipalities of Annapolis and Highland Beach are within the boundary.

The former name “four rivers” referred to the historically important rivers located in the heritage area: the Severn, South, Rhode, and West.

What makes an region or town appropriate for inclusion in a heritage area?

To be considered for addition into the heritage area, neighborhoods and areas would need a distinct mix of historic structures, natural spaces, and cultural institutions which together help tell significant stories about Anne Arundel County’s history.

Any expansion to the boundary would require approval by the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority.

What are the benefits of heritage area designation?

The designation opens up some state funding to assist in promoting the mission of the heritage area. Most of this support comes through grant programs. Grant funding through the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority is available to eligible municipalities and non-profit organizations to pursue both capital and non-capital projects that support heritage tourism within the heritage area. Private individuals and for-profit corporations may seek assistance for heritage tourism related capital projects in the form of low-interest loans.

Does being in the heritage area place any restrictions on property use?

Inclusion in a heritage area is recognition of a neighborhood, region, or specific site’s importance in telling the significant stories of Anne Arundel County’s past. Inclusion in a heritage area does not place any use restrictions on property. (MHAA may request easements on properties that receive heritage area funding for capital projects.)