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December 23, 2020

Longtime head of Maine Preservation will retire in June

a smiling man sitting on steps outdoors next to a white labrador retriever Courtesy / Maine Preservation Greg Paxton, executive director of Maine Preservation, has announced he will retire June 1.

Greg Paxton, the executive director of Maine Preservation, has announced he will retire after 13 years in the role.

Paxton's retirement, which he recently announced to the board of trustees of the Yarmouth-based nonprofit, will become effective June 1.

During his tenure, Maine Preservation grew from one full-time and one part-time employees to five full-time employees. Under Paxton's leadership, several programs that have supported historic preservation development and boosted the economies of communities across the state were launched.

"I am fortunate that during my tenure Maine has experienced the substantial impact that a strategy of historic preservation can have on our towns," Paxton said in a news release.

"It has been an honor to serve with the board and staff for this nearly 50-year-old organization. Maine Preservation has reached every corner of the state with its services, where grassroots efforts are enhancing the cultural memory, vitality and revitalization, and pride of place that all of Maine's beautiful communities offer."

The board of trustees expressed "their deepest appreciation to Greg for his long, successful tenure, his passionate service and incredible dedication to the mission of historic preservation in Maine and around the country." The board has initiated a professionally developed national search for a successor that it will conduct over the next six months, it said in the release.

Among Paxton's achievements over the years are:

  • The Field Services Program, launched in 2009, which has supported 1,400 projects in the state;
  • The Protect & Sell Program, which Paxton initiated in 2015, and has helped resell eight properties that are protected with perpetual preservation easements.
  • New $430,000 sub-grant programs in the past two years underwritten by the 1772 Foundation and Northern Border Regional Commission, which so far have funded more than 20 local preservation projects.

He's also worked for more than a decade with the Maine Steeples Fund, which has invested more than $1 million in preservation of church steeples statewide.

Paxton lobbied for passage of the state Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit in 2008, and later worked to extend and strengthen it. Since its inception, the credit has resulted in more than a half-billion dollars invested in 120 projects across the state.

He also oversaw the development of three economic impact reports, in 2011, 2015 and 2020, that documented the tax credit's positive results. The credit-aided projects generate more in tax revenues than the credits given. Maine Preservation also assisted 45 of the state's 120 tax credit projects since 2008, including serving as a partner in five projects with a total investment of $32 million.

Paxton's work at Maine Preservation caps a 48-year career starting at Mount Independence in Vermont, a Revolutionary War fort, and  at Historic Charleston Foundation in South Carolina, as well as president and CEO of Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation.

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