Last week the Middle School Facilities Committee in South Portland voted to recommend closing Mahoney Middle School in favor of building a new consolidated middle school for grades 5-8 using state and local funds. Mahoney, formerly the South Portland High School when it was constructed 1923-1924, is located on a 15-acre site on Ocean Avenue in South Portland's Millcreek neighborhood. It is a significant historic building, both for its Beaux Arts architectural style and its community associations. If it is no longer used as a school, its future is unclear. The building has been determined by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. It would be eligible for historic tax credits if it was rehabilitated for an income producing use.
This week, as the Senate Finance Committee began to consider the tax reform bill, Senator Cassidy (R-LA) filed an amendment to restore the Historic Tax Credit from 10% to 20% of qualified rehabilitation expenditures. As a budget savings measure, the amendment changes the HTC to be earned in installments over five years. Preservation advocates are hopeful that this amendment will be included in the bill later this week either by the chairman or by committee vote. This is a significant improvement over the House bill that would repeal the HTC entirely. The final tax package will need to be negotiated by the House and Senate later this year. Please continue to voice your concerns with your Congressional representatives and encourage them to support the HTC, undiminished, in tax reform legislation.