The House passed S. 1942, the National Heritage Area Act with vast bipartisan support. This bill reauthorizes 45 of the 55 National Heritage Areas for the next 15 years. This is an improvement over the standard 2-year renewals many sites must apply for each Congress. The long-term reauthorization allows for better planning efforts and investment by the heritage areas.
“By passing this long-term extension our National Heritage Areas, including the Crossroads of the American Revolution NHA in New Jersey, will be able to better plan their programming and investments,” said Congresswoman Watson Coleman. “With the upcoming celebrations of the 250th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, this extension gives our NHA’s the confidence to prepare for increased tourism surrounding the nation’s Semiquincentennial.”
National Heritage Areas drive economic opportunity in local communities across the country. The NHA Act also establishes the first-ever standardized criteria for designating new NHAs and strengthen accountability by creating an evaluation process for existing sites.
“Crossroads – New Jersey’s only NHA – was scheduled to sunset in September 2023,” said Crossroads Executive Director Carrie Fellows. “As we ramp up planning for the 250th, Crossroads is working harder than ever to raise the profile of New Jersey’s role in the American Revolution, tell its stories and make the connections between people and places that changed history. Now we will be able to do that work, knowing we’ll still exist after September. This investment in our future means a great deal to me and my colleagues in the Alliance for National Heritage Areas (ANHA) and we are grateful.”
The Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area encompasses approximately 2,155 square miles over 212 municipalities and works with dozens of historic sites in New Jersey including Washington Crossing where Washington Crossed the Delaware for a surprise attack on Hessian troops during Christmas 1776. General George Washington spent more time in New Jersey than any other colony during the Revolutionary War.
Congresswoman Watson Coleman was a cosponsor of the House companion bill, H.R. 1316. S. 1942 passed the House by a vote of 326 to 95.