Bill from Sen. Grohoski, Reps. Milliken and Russell to obtain critical funding for historic Fort George earns unanimous committee support 

Posted: March 24, 2023 | Energy, Utilities and Technology, Senator Grohoski

AUGUSTA — On Wednesday, March 22, a bill sponsored by Sen. Nicole Grohoski, D-Ellsworth, to grant critical funding to historic Fort George earned unanimous, bipartisan support from the Joint Standing Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. “An Act to Support the Maintenance of Historic Fort George in Castine,” is cosponsored by Rep. Nina Milliken, D-Blue Hill, and Rep. Ron Russell, D-Verona Island. 

“Few Maine towns have a colonial history as decorated as that of Castine,” said Sen. Grohoski. “It is incumbent upon us to learn about and preserve important pieces of American history, including Fort George. I think there would be a great economic development benefit if all of our State Historic Sites were restored and interpreted for visitors. I’m thrilled that my colleagues on the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee agree that the state has an obligation to care for its historic sites for the benefit of our residents and visitors.”

As amended, LD 791 would allocate $1 million per year for the next two fiscal years to support the upkeep and preservation of Fort George and around twenty other State Historic Sites, which span the state from Kittery to Fort Kent. 

“Fort George is an integral part of the Town of Castine and has been an important feature in the lives of residents for generations,” said Rep. Milliken. “It is the oldest permanent settlement in all of New England and has been occupied by four different countries at different times throughout history. But now, unfortunately, the fort is in a state of disrepair and needs some help. Despite being a state historic landmark, it doesn’t get any financial assistance from the state. The funding in this bill will be critical to help fix some of the fort’s crumbling infrastructure and preserve this tangible relic of American history.”

“As a teenager in the 1960s, my first real ‘paycheck job’ was working on an archaeological dig and restoration project at Fort George,” said Rep Russell. “The work was hard but exciting. Unfortunately, over the years, a lack of funding has left that work and the general condition of the fort to deteriorate. Fort George holds a significant place in both Maine and American history, and stakeholders in the community are ready to make sure that, with this investment, it is saved for future generations.”

LD 791 now faces further action by the full Legislature.