(The Center Square) – Maine is getting more federal money to help revitalize Main Streets and spur investment and economic activity in the state's historic downtowns.
The Maine Development Foundation has been awarded $750,000 through the National Park Service’s Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program, the state's congressional delegation announced.
“The Maine Development Foundation serves as a critical resource for the State of Maine, making investments to help increase job growth and boost local economies,” Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said in a statement. "We welcome this investment, which will enable the preservation of historic properties, spur economic growth, and safeguard Maine’s unique sense of place."
This funding will be used for historic revitalization, preservation, and other upgrades that support economic development activities throughout Maine, the delegation said.
It will also provide resources to help encourage infrastructure development and private sector investment that in turn will increase the value and use of historically significant properties.
MDF is a private, nonpartisan group that provides development and research services to Maine business, community, and government leaders to spur long-term economic growth.
In the past two decades, the foundation has helped restore historic downtowns in Portland, Lewiston and elsewhere through its Maine Downtown Center program, created by the state Legislature in 1999 to foster preservation-based economic development.
In 2019, the foundation received grant funding for six high-priority projects throughout the state, but as in previous years demand for the money vastly outstripped the available funds.
The delegation wrote to the National Park Service earlier this year, urging them to approve additional funding for the state to meet the demand.
The lawmakers wrote that the additional funds would help foot the bill for "historic preservation, restoration and rehabilitation projects in Maine, and in doing so, help foster economic development in Maine communities."