Maine Senate majority Leader Nate Libby, D-Lewiston, signals a page at the State House in Augusta in this 2019 file photo. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine lawmakers have extended a historic preservation tax credit to try to rehabilitate properties in downtown areas.

The Maine Senate voted in late April to extend the sunset date for the Maine Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit from 2025 to 2030. Supporters of the proposal said it would help with affordable housing as well as preservation of historic downtowns.

The tax credit program provides incentives so businesses, property owners and developers can rehab and reuse historic buildings in the state that produce income. Supporters said it’s designed to encourage redevelopment of housing that is located within walking distance of downtowns. That cuts down the need for new building and dependence on cars.

Bill sponsor Sen. Nate Libby, a Lewiston Democrat, said the proposal is one step to address an “affordable housing crisis that has only gotten worse over the last few years.”

Greg Paxton, former executive director of Maine Preservation, said last year when he was still in the job that the tax credit program boosts communities that “feel pride in the repurposing for current uses of the historic buildings constructed so well by our predecessors.”