- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 28, 2003

Peggy Erickson is promoting Montgomery County’s historic sites as executive director of the new Heritage Tourism Alliance.

The state earlier this year designated the county as a heritage area, which allowed the tourism alliance to apply for certain state funding.

Ms. Erickson has been working for the past two months out of the Waters House, a Germantown farmhouse built in 1790 that is operated by the alliance and the Montgomery County Historical Society.

She plans to promote three historic sites in the county: the farming and Civil War history sector in Poolesville, the Quaker legacy and underground railroad sector in Sandy Spring, and the technological innovation sector at the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and Baltimore/Ohio Railroad.

Ms. Erickson said the challenge is to establish the group’s funding, which will include federal grants, public foundations and private support.

“We’re funded through December 2004, but after that, we’ll need a set fund-raising strategy,” she said.

Ms. Erickson, who lives in Washington Grove, served as chief of staff to Republican County Council member Nancy Dacek for 12 years.

Ms. Erickson agreed to lead the tourism alliance after Mrs. Dacek was defeated in the general election last year.

But the new position isn’t as stressful as helping to balance the county budget. “It’s been a good transition from the world of politics to the world of preservation,” Ms. Erickson said.

Mary Kay Harper, executive director of the county’s historical society, said the advisory board picked Ms. Erickson because of her local government experience and knowledge of the Upcounty region, which includes Pooles-ville and Sandy Spring.

“Peggy has a unique knowledge of the area. She is vivacious and outgoing and will be key in getting the alliance up and running,” Mrs. Harper said.

Mrs. Harper said she expects Ms. Erickson to establish private and public partnerships for the alliance and organize campaigns to entice more local residents to venture out for day trips to heritage sites.

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