MDF’s Maine Downtown Center Awards $656,789 in Sub-Grants for Historic Preservation Projects Supporting Economic Development in Maine’s Rural Downtowns

HALLOWELL, ME – April 12, 2022 – MDF’s Maine Downtown Center (MDC) is pleased to award $656,789 through the REvitalizeME Gen2 National Park Service Sub-grant program for four historic preservation projects involving historic downtown buildings in Maine. These projects all support economic development in rural downtowns during this critical time.

“We are pleased to make these awards for catalytic projects in Maine downtowns,” says Anne Ball, Program Director, Maine Downtown Center. “The program set out to drive the connection between economic development and historic preservation. These projects illustrate this in four unique downtowns in four different Maine counties and in four different building types: a library, theater, mill, and former jail.”

The four awards prevailed through a process aimed at identifying new opportunities that will have a fundamental impact on economic revitalization and historic preservation:

  • Colonial Theater, Augusta – $160,229 — for repair of windows and exterior doors
  • Old Hancock County Sheriff’s Home and Jail, Ellsworth – $200,000 — for repair of masonry
  • Porter Memorial Library, Machias – $48,000 — for plans and specifications to add an elevator to make the library accessible for the first time in its history and to redesign interior space
  • Bag Mill, Rumford – $200,000 — roof repair and energy efficiency improvements; $48,560 — forplans andspecifications and a window survey

MDF’s partner in this effort was the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. “We are pleased to be able to support rehabilitation work on several historically significant buildings,” says Kirk Mohney, Director and State Historic Preservation Officer. “The variety of buildings that received awards underscores the rich architectural heritage of Maine’s downtowns.”

The REvitalizeME Gen2 sub-grant program was funded by the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program of the National Park Service, Department of Interior. The objective of the program is to support the rehabilitation of historic properties that will drive economic development in rural communities.

“One of the MDF’s strategic priorities is improving the economic vitality of the state’s downtowns,” says Yellow Light Breen, MDF President and CEO. “Even in difficult economic times, rehabbing our historic properties boosts the long-term prospects for sustaining businesses and jobs in our downtowns. These grants enable downtown historic building owners to be good stewards of their buildings and drive economic development.”