$3 Million Secured by Pingree to Restore Maine Irish Heritage Center
This funding would be used to restore, prevent further deterioration, and weatherize the Maine Irish Heritage Center in Portland so it can continue to operate as a community space for cultural education
Washington, December 23, 2022
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced $3 million she secured through Community Project Funding in the Fiscal Year 2023 government funding bill will help restore and weatherize the Maine Irish Heritage Center in Portland. This funding will help ensure the historic building, which was previously St. Dominic’s Church, can continue to serve as a community space and center for cultural education.
“The Maine Irish Heritage Center is a historic, architectural gem of the Portland landscape and hub of cultural happenings for the Irish community in Maine. A 200-year-old structure such as this requires an enormous amount of resources for upkeep,” Pingree said. “With $3 million in funds that I fought to include in our comprehensive funding bill for Fiscal Year 2023, the Maine Irish Heritage Center will be able to fulfill its duty as stewards of this magnificent building by making updates that help the building adapt to the 21st Century. These renovations will not only allow the Center to continue serving a diverse and lively community in Portland, but will serve as a symbol of our appreciation for the important role Irish immigrants played in Portland’s history.”
"The Maine Irish Heritage Center (MIHC) is truly grateful for Congresswoman Pingree’s leadership in helping us reach our goal for completing critical restoration work on MIHC's historic building, formerly known as St. Dominic's Church. This funding will make it possible to seal the building from the weather, preventing deterioration of the exterior and protecting restoration of the interior," said Bob Kearney, MIHC's Board Chair. "Our historic building is instantly identifiable as a key feature of Portland’s skyline and for well over a century, it has been a beacon welcoming immigrants and inviting diverse communities to share their cultural experiences. We thank the Maine Congressional delegation for its support in furthering our mission and restoring this architectural gem to its original grandeur."
Built in 1833, the former St. Dominic’s Church at 33 Gray Street in Portland needs exterior work done to seal leaks that are causing interior damage. The Maine Irish Heritage Center has taken on four major exterior restorations:
The federal funding will support these renovations so the Heritage Center can move onto interior renovations and achieve their ultimate vision for the future of transforming the space into a premier gathering space in the Greater Portland area with a new, modern performance and history exhibition space.
Pingree is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee and a member of the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus.