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Congressionally-Directed Funding Secured by King, Pingree Awarded to Create 4-H Club Foundation’s Innovation Lab in Bridgton

In the FY 2022 Appropriations bill the Maine leaders requested $450,000 to transform Bridgton’s historic Magic Lantern Theater into a community hub

U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) and Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced that $450,000 in Congressionally-Directed Spending secured by the Maine leaders is headed to the Maine 4-H Club Foundation. The Maine 4-H Club Foundation intends to use the investment to leverage the purchase of Bridgton’s historic Magic Lantern Theater and operate an Innovation Lab and Learning Center. 

Run by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Innovation Lab and Learning Center is the most recent addition to the 4-H Foundation’s family of learning centers across Maine and will serve as a hub of creative activity for rural youth in the Maine Lakes Region. The center will engage 3,000-4,000 students annually in activities encompassing STEAM, theater, engineering, small business management, marketing and culinary arts, raising student performance in Bridgton and the surrounding Cumberland and Oxford County communities. This is the first award of Congressionally-Directed Spending to be announced in Maine since the signing of the FY 2022 Appropriations Bill by President Biden.

“Maine 4-H Club Foundation’s Innovation Lab and Learning Center will transform an underused historic Bridgton landmark into a place for young people to be creative and engaged outside of the classroom. This community hub will createnew enrichment opportunities for local youth, catalyze economic development in the region by providing workforce development opportunities, and provide resources to parents and teachers,” King and Pingree said. “This project showshow beneficial Congressionally-Directed Spending has been to Maine. We’re proud to have fought for and secured federal funding to support this rural youth initiative and hundreds of other vital projects across Maine.”

In 2021, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees brought back Congressionally-Directed Spending after a decade-long hiatus. A study by the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress found that congressionally directed spending boosted bipartisanship, facilitated member-to-member cooperation, and gave members an equal stake in the success of appropriations bills.

King’s 93 submitted Maine projects received over $137 million in the FY22 Appropriations bill. 

Pingree is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee, serving as Chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies since January 2021. In contrast to the Senate, members of the House were permitted to submit only 10 community project requests for FY 22. All 10 of Pingree’s requested projects were funded, totaling nearly $8 million. 



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