Washington (March 19, 2021) -- Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representatives Seth Moulton (MA-06) and Lori Trahan (MA-03) today re-introduced the Essex National Heritage Area Permanency Act of 2021, legislation that would eliminate the total funding cap for the Essex National Heritage Area and extend its authorization by 15 years to 2036. Despite generating more than $150 million in economic impact and supporting thousands of jobs each year, the Essex National Heritage Area will expire on September 30, 2021 if Congress does not extend the Essex National Heritage Area’s ability to receive federal money and raise the total amount of funding for which it is eligible.
“The Essex National Heritage Area is a treasure that is enjoyed by Massachusetts residents and millions of visitors who come to experience the history and beauty of Essex County,” said Senator Markey. “This legislation will ensure our continued investment in and support for the Essex National Heritage Area, which strengthens our local economies and preserves the North Shore’s rich history, culture, and natural resources.”
The Essex National Heritage Area protects the Commonwealth’s natural treasures, strengthens our local economy, and provides opportunities for communities and visitors to learn more about our rich culture and history on the North Shore,” said Senator Warren. “I am glad to support legislation to continue investing in the partnerships between communities in Massachusetts and throughout New England and the National Park Service to preserve and appreciate these special places for generations to come.”
“Two and a half decades ago, when Members of Congress created the Essex National Heritage Area, they clearly failed to imagine how successful it would be for our economy. If they had, they would never have made the idea temporary,” said Representative Moulton. “The Essex National Heritage Area brings millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of people to New England where they spend money and create jobs. A 25-year track record of success is reason enough to keep it going, but given how hard our tourism economy has been hit by the pandemic, it is even more critical that Congress passes this bill before September.”
For families throughout the region, the Essex National Heritage Area continues to be a cultural and economic driver. Not only does it benefit Bay Staters and visitors, but it has also contributed mightily to the growth of communities like Lawrence, Haverhill, and Andover,” said Representative Trahan. “I'm proud to partner with Congressman Moulton and Senator Markey to introduce this legislation, which is key to ensuring that the Essex National Heritage Area continues receiving the smart federal investments necessary to sustain its critical presence in our communities.”
“This year we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the designation of the Essex National Heritage Area. A lot has been accomplished but there is much more to be done,” said Annie Harris, director of the Essex National Heritage Area. “The pandemic has shown us how important it is to provide opportunities for all our residents to enjoy the assets available in this area. From identifying places to experience the outdoors to providing on-line materials for remote learning, Essex Heritage has been pleased to serve this region during the pandemic, and we are looking forward to playing an even bigger role as the economy recovers. We are very grateful for the support that the MA delegation is providing.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
The Essex National Heritage Area spans 500 square-miles and connects 34 cities and towns through a region that includes Lawrence, Salem, Lynn, and Gloucester. Since the Essex National Heritage Area’s creation in 1996, Congress has been authorized to invest up to $17 million in the area over the course of the area’s lifespan. The original legislation had a sunset of 2012 for when the Essex Heritage could receive funding. The legislation introduced today would extend the Essex National Heritage Area's authorization by 15 years to 2036 and also remove its funding cap.
In 2019, Senators Markey and Warren were able to secure an increase in the funding cap for the Essex National Heritage Area from $17 million to $20 million as part of the John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act (S. 47).