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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: September 21, 2015 10:40 AM
From: Representative R. Lee James
To: All House members
Subject: Heritage Areas Program Legislation
 
I intend to re-introduce legislation that would create the Heritage Areas Program Act, which provides guidelines for how the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) administers the program and appropriates the ‘Heritage and other Parks’ line item funding.

This legislation was originally introduced during the 2014-2015 session and won unanimous floor support.

The Heritage Areas Program has been operating since 1989 without legislatively mandated guidelines. This legislation is an example of a bipartisan, good governance measure to provide fiscal and program accountability based on the funding allocated by the General Assembly and Administration.

Heritage Areas have been shown to stimulate community revitalization and economic development through recreation, tourism and other partnerships.

The National Heritage Areas Program was patterned after Pennsylvania’s program. Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, Colorado and New York are several states that have received and benefitted from Pennsylvania’s guidance and technical assistance.

The legislation will do the following:
  • Direct DCNR to adopt program guidelines and policies for the implementation and administration of the program.

  • Direct DCNR to distribute funding from the Heritage Parks line-item to the twelve Heritage Areas based on those program guidelines, with each area receiving a minimum amount established by the program goals. The areas are directed to use that funding for operating costs, marketing, promotion and coordinating efforts with other agencies and organizations.

  • Authorize the Heritage Areas to provide grants and loans to other entities, including non-profits, governmental entities and private businesses for the purposes of promoting, operating or marketing the area.

If you have any questions regarding this proposed legislation, please do not hesitate to contact my office. Thank you for your kind consideration of this request.

Previous Co-Sponsors:

SWANGER, MILLARD, BARRAR, STERN, GINGRICH, SAYLOR, HARPER, BOBACK, R. MILLER, LONGIETTI, BAKER, SCHREIBER, KAUFFMAN, GODSHALL, REED, MAJOR, QUINN, MARSHALL, GIBBONS, CARROLL, HAGGERTY, HEFFLEY, PETRI, PICKETT, FLYNN, HARHART, KAVULICH, REESE, FARINA, MURT, LUCAS, FLECK, REGAN, CALTAGIRONE, CAUSER, PAINTER, HENNESSEY, NEILSON, ROZZI, ROEBUCK, TOPPER, PEIFER, SONNEY and KORTZ

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Introduced as HB1605