Preservation Maryland lauded for work to save historic sites

National Trust presents award for excellence

October 02, 2001|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

Preservation Maryland -- a statewide advocacy group that has battled indiscriminate demolition in Baltimore -- has received the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 2001 Trustees' Award for Organizational Excellence.

In announcing the award, the most prestigious given to an organization, the National Trust lauded Preservation Maryland yesterday for helping to create an alternative west-side redevelopment plan that will save at least 150 historic downtown buildings from the wrecking ball.

The National Trust noted the Baltimore-based group's efforts lobbying for Maryland's historic tax credit program, which it described as a national model.

"In its 70 years, Preservation Maryland has become a model for organizations everywhere," Richard Moe, president of the National Trust, said in a statement. "It has stayed true to its mission while responding to Maryland's changing preservation needs, creating effective legislation, saving historic buildings and educating the public about preservation's central role in revitalizing communities."

The award will be presented Oct. 18 in Providence, R.I., during the National Preservation Conference.

Tyler Gearhart, executive director of Preservation Maryland, said his group was "honored to receive the award and grateful to all the members and supporters that have contributed to our success."

"It's a great boost to preservation in Maryland," he said.

In addition to its work on the west-side redevelopment plan, Preservation Maryland also has been involved in the past year in an unsuccessful battle to preserve two historic buildings in the city's old financial district and a fight to preserve Memorial Stadium. The latter led to a compromise in which the stadium is being torn down but the wall honoring Maryland's war veterans is to be retained.

The National Trust selected two organizations for "honor awards": New York's Central Park Conservancy, which it said "brought the world's most famous urban park back to its Victorian splendor," and the Providence Preservation Society Revolving Fund, which is involved in neighborhood restoration in the Rhode Island city.

The National Trust's highest individual award was given to a Galveston, Texas, couple for their work in revitalizing historic Galveston Island. Denver Mayor Wellington Webb was honored for outstanding achievement in public policy for keeping historic preservation "front and center" in the city's downtown revitalization.

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