Conference to focus on downtown revitalization, historic preservation

Posted May 31, 2011, at 11:01 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Development Foundation’s Downtown Center and Maine Preservation will join forces again this year to present a two-day conference showcasing the economic and community values of downtown revitalization and historic preservation.

The first day, “Building Room In A Recession,” will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, June 9, at the National Register Kora Temple in Lewiston.

The second day, “Making Maine’s Downtown Work!” will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, June 10, at the Skowhegan Opera House and other historic Skowhegan locations throughout the day.

National downtown expert Kennedy Smith will return to Maine to deliver a fresh perspective on downtown asset-based development. She is the founder of the Virginia-based CLUE Group and former director of the National Trust Main Street Center.

The opening session in Lewiston will feature developers Cyndy Taylor, Kevin Bunker, Chris Pachios and Chris Flagg discussing how $135 million in privately funded projects since 2008 across Maine have used the new state historic preservation tax credits. Experts also will discuss how to develop successful tax credit projects; how the new statewide building and energy code applies to existing and historic buildings; how design review assists revitalization; and how to save landmark buildings, churches and create community centers. The day will close with Maine Preservation’s annual Honor Awards.

Day two in Skowhegan will feature 12 concurrent sessions on topics including facade design, retail business development, property management, social marketing, organizational leadership, sustainable green downtowns, heritage tourism, retail and special events, and local food.

Maine singer-songwriter David Mallett will kick off Friday with a special performance in the historic Skowhegan Opera House. The conference closes with the annual Downtown Achievement Awards and Reception held at Skowhegan’s historic Strand Theater, featuring the announcement of Maine’s newest Main Street community and five new Maine Downtown Network communities.

For  information, call Roxanne Eflin, senior program director of the Maine Development Foundation and director of the Maine Downtown Center, at 262-3117, or visit www.mdf.org.

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