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

HALLOWELL, ME – April 8, 2020 – MDF’s Maine Downtown Center (MDC) is pleased to award more than $640,000 through the REvitalizeME National Park Service Sub-grant program for six 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 distribute these awards for what we believe will be 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. The grant projects will clearly illustrate this. This was a very competitive grant program – more than 2.2 million dollars were requested by applicants and this speaks to the need for this type of funding in Maine.”

Four awards for were made to support the preparation of architectural and engineering specifications and plans for the: Norway Opera House, Norway; 7 Island Avenue, Skowhegan; Chocolate Church, Bath; and Center Theatre, Dover-Foxcroft. One award was made to the Peavey Memorial Library in Eastport for exterior repair of the masonry, roof and gutters surrounding the defining entry arch and another to Johnson Hall in Gardiner for repair of exterior masonry, windows and cornice. 

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

The REvitalizeME 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 in order to rehabilitate, protect, and foster economic development in rural communities.

“One of the MDF’s strategic priorities is improving the economic vitality of the state’s downtowns,” said Yellow Light Breen, 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.”