GARDINER — A workshop hosted by Gardiner Main Street aims to help property owners learn more about financial incentives to restore historic buildings.

The tax credit workshop, which is free and open to the public, will be held Thursday, March 8, at 5:30 p.m. at Gardiner Main Street offices, 177 Water St. It’s intended for people who own aging buildings downtown and historic districts both in Gardiner and other communities.

Patrick Wright, executive director of Main Street, said downtowns and villages have functioned as centers for culture, commerce and community for hundreds of years. To ensure that downtowns remain vital assets, he said old buildings need to be kept in top physical shape.

“Maine does not merely have good revitalization policies, but we wisely adopted tools to implement them,” Wright said. “For private property owners, the most powerful tools are the financial incentives of the state and federal rehabilitation tax credit programs.”

The workshop is sponsored by the city of Gardiner, Gardiner Main Street and Lachman Architects and Planners of Portland.

Denis Lachman said now is the best time for communities to improve historic buildings.

“While new construction has declined dramatically, rehabilitation in Maine has witnessed a marked increase — stimulated by these incentives,” Lachman said.

Wright said Maine’s rehabilitation incentives include a 25 percent tax credit or refund, which may be combined with federal rehabilitation tax credits for a total incentive of 45 percent.

In addition, he said tax credits for the rehabilitation of historic buildings may be combined with facade or energy grants.

Wright said rehabilitation incentives can be used for certified code compliance in existing buildings such as elevators, stairs and life-safety systems; certified interior improvements such as walls, partitions, floors, ceilings, permanent coverings and infrastructure, including central air conditioning, heating and plumbing; and for certified exterior improvements such as windows, doors, storefronts and masonry.

Wright said the incentives foster quality economic development and jobs.

“Attractive, well-functioning 21st century buildings will help our downtowns retain their historic fabric and continue as centers for culture, commerce and community,” Wright said.

For more information, call Wright at 582-3100 or [email protected]

Mechele Cooper — 621-5663

[email protected]

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