BRUNSWICK

The Brunswick Commercial Historic District is now entered in the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service as part of a long effort by the Brunswick Downtown Association.

Debora King, BDA executive director, addressed the town council on the accomplishment Monday night.

“We were incredibly thrilled to receive that notification just prior to our annual meeting. It was a process that took over three years and several thousands of dollars,” King said.

King commended BDA Design Committee Chairwoman Claudia Knox with taking the lead in the effort to get the downtown on the registry.

“This National Register listing is the culmination of more than three years of work and investment by the Brunswick Downtown Association. In addition to the tangible benefits, being in the National Register conveys a sense of civic pride in the place where we live. It is as much about the present and the future as it is about the past,” Knox said at the BDA annual meeting on Jan. 28.

King said a group of people were involved in the lengthy process, working hard to make sure everything was covered in the application process to prevent further delays. A photographer was also hired to do a considerable amount of work as part of the application.

King said the BDA took the time to meet with property owners who would be considered within the district several times to make sure they understood what it meant for them.

“There was some concern as to how being in a historic district that was designated would have affects on any future renovations or plans to change the buildings. We tried to assure them, and I hope the message came through loud and clear, that there is no difference at all when they plan to do something,” Knox said.

King clarified that having a building in the national historic district has absolutely no bearing in terms of what owners can and cannot do. She did say, however, that if they want to take advantage of state and federal tax credits as part of the program, there are certain criteria that have to be followed.

King said the BDA has a list of names building owners can contact with any questions or concerns regarding their buildings, eligibility or taking advantage of the tax credits.

“These folks will come down from Augusta and go through a building with a property owner at no cost to the property owner to do an assessment. It’s much better to get that information up front than it is to go through a long, lengthy process and find out it wasn’t eligible anyway,” King said.

King said Brunswick a main street community that is nationally recognized, and is now also recognized as a national historic district — something she said the BDA will use to further promote the community.

King also took a moment to commend the property owners who have taken advantage of the Facade Improvement Grant program made possible through the BDA via the Brunswick Development Corporation, to take on maintenance and renovation projects to improve the downtown.

“There’s lots of things happening on Maine Street near downtown and this is just another bit of good news that we have to share,” King said.

Larissa Picard, executive director of the Pejepscot Historical Society, echoed King’s enthusiasm, saying the society is thrilled about the national recognition.

“Kudos to the BDA for pursuing this on behalf of the community. Locally, we all know what a historical treasure Brunswick’s downtown is, and visitors certainly find that out when they come here, but being on the National Register achieves another level of prominence,” Picard said.

Picard said Brunswick is lucky to have a downtown that retains so much of its architectural and cultural heritage while still making room for growth and development.

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Society thrilled

• LARISSA PICARD, executive director of the Pejepscot Historical Society, said the society is thrilled about the national recognition.

“Kudos to the BDA for pursuing this on behalf of the community. Locally, we all know what a historical treasure Brunswick’s downtown is, and visitors certainly find that out when they come here, but being on the National Register achieves another level of prominence.”



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