The housing project was made possible by a bill sponsored by Speaker Fecteau and signed into law by Governor Mills
Skowhegan, MAINE – Governor Janet Mills and Speaker Ryan Fecteau today joined officials from the Town of Skowhegan and Kennebec Valley Community Action Program to break ground on a new, major housing project, the Mary Street Apartments. The project will provide 40 new affordable housing units for families in the Skowhegan area and is the direct result of legislation sponsored by Speaker Fecteau and signed into law by Governor Mills last year.
Speaker Fecteau’s legislation, LD 1645, An Act To Create Affordable Workforce and Senior Housing and Preserve Affordable Rural Housing, increases the current rate of new affordable housing production by creating the Maine Affordable Housing Tax Credit program. The tax credit program is an $80 million investment over eight years, representing the single largest state investment in housing in Maine’s history. The Mary Street Apartments project is among the first of four projects to be built or renovated as a result.
“A home is more than brick and beams. It’s a place where you lay your head at night, where you raise your kids, where you get ready for work and pay your bills. Now, as a result of this historic tax credit program -- the largest investment in housing in Maine’s history -- 40 more families in the Skowhegan area will have a safe, affordable place to call home,” said Governor Janet Mills. “And this is just the beginning. I applaud Speaker Fecteau for his leadership in creating the program that made today possible, and I look forward to continuing our progress to make sure all Maine people have affordable places to live, which is critical to strengthening our economy as we recover from the pandemic.”
“The bipartisan work that went into this bill demonstrated that together we can make significant headway on one of the largest challenges facing our state — providing safe, affordable housing to working families and older Mainers who need it,” said Speaker Fecteau. “The people of Maine asked us to tackle affordable housing so we’re doing that from many angles, including incentivizing new construction and renovations that will become affordable units like the project here in Skowhegan.”
Governor Mills and Speaker Fecteau also announced that MaineHousing has been able to gain an additional $38.6 million in funding as a result of its ability to refinance bonds and purchase new bonds at low interest rates. These lower interest rates have freed up $38.6 million that can now be put towards the construction of more affordable housing.
Further, the Governor’s Maine Jobs & Recovery Plan, supported by Speaker Fecteau, invests another $60 million to expand housing options that are affordable for Maine workers and their families to own or rent.
“We are honored to welcome Governor Mills and Speaker Fecteau to our community today. The Mary Street Apartments project is a great example of collaboration between KVCAP, the Town of Skowhegan, and the Maine State Housing Authority that will benefit the greater Somerset region. At a time when so many Maine communities are struggling with housing issues, I am thankful to be working with KVCAP on this development. Our taxpayers will benefit as this facility is added to our tax base and will take advantage of the first housing TIF in Skowhegan, which will reduce our county tax burden and increase our municipal revenue sharing. This project will bring 40 units of greatly needed affordable housing that will attract a workforce to our area and assist local businesses as we work towards our greater economic development goals,” said Christine Almand, Skowhegan Town Manager.
“Throughout Maine, affordable housing is a critical element for economic stability and thriving families and communities. This is at the heart of KVCAP's mission and we are grateful for the opportunity and the support to build this in the town of Skowhegan,” said Dennis Carrillo, KVCAP Board President.
“The need for affordable and quality housing in rural Maine is immense. This KVCAP development in Skowhegan will provide 40 new housing units for area families and will also include green space, a community room, onsite laundry, ADA accessibility and access to KVCAP's public transportation system,” said Suzanne Walsh, KVCAP CEO.
“All of us at E.W. Littlefield, Inc. are extremely excited to begin working on this project that will repurpose an historic building into much needed housing. We are passionate about our work and we love these old Maine buildings. It’s not very often that we get the opportunity to work on a project of this significance so close to home. Our connection to this project began back in 1965, when my dad hired the facilities’ former Farm Manager just as the Women’s Reformatory was beginning its closure process. So here we are, 50 plus years later and proud to say that local contractors and suppliers will be working on this epic transformation,” said builder Dana Littlefield.
The project will be built by Hartland’s E.W. Littlefield & Sons Inc.
According to the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition, nearly 31,000 renters — 1 in 5 Maine renters — pay more than half their income toward housing costs, and, for every family living in an affordable, federally subsidized unit, nearly three families are on a waiting list.
Projects using the Maine Affordable Housing Tax Credit will break ground in Skowhegan and Portland this year, with over 185 new affordable units set to provide Maine families a dignified place to live.