Buffalo Nonprofits Win Preserve NY Grants

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Owners of homes like this in the Prospect Hill/Columbus Park neighborhood will be eligible to apply for New York State Historic Homeowners Tax Credits - if Historic District designation is secured.

ALBANY, NY (10/28/2013)(readMedia)-- The Preservation League of New York State recently announced Preserve New York grants to two Buffalo-based not-for-profit organizations.

The League made a grant of $10,000 to Preservation Buffalo Niagara to support the cost of completing the documentation to secure local as well as State and National Register designation for the Prospect Hill Historic District. The Prospect Hill/Columbus Park neighborhood, comprised of homes built from the 1890s to the 1960s, was placed on the League's Seven to Save list of endangered places in 2008 and included in the National Trust's list of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

Major threats include demolition and intrusive transportation developments as a result of a proposed expansion of the Peace Bridge Plaza that serves the United States and Canada. Although numerous surveys have been completed, no designations have moved forward. Following successful Historic District designation, homeowners could take advantage of the New York State Historic Homeowners Tax Credits. The project, which will address more than 60 properties, will be completed by Bero Architecture of Rochester.

"Preservation Buffalo Niagara is grateful to the Preservation League of New York State for the Preserve New York grant funding the Prospect Hill Historic District initiative," said Tom Yots, the group's Executive Director. "The Prospect Hill/Columbus Park neighborhood is one of the most threatened historic sites in our community and its historic significance has been well- established by various studies and surveys in the past. We feel strongly that historic designation would not only give recognition to this significance but would lead to protection of these vital resources. The Prospect Hill/Columbus Park community is one of the most involved and dedicated neighborhood groups in the Buffalo Niagara region and we are proud to be working on this project with them."

The League made a grant of $8,000 to the Old First Ward Community Association to support the cost of completing a reconnaissance level survey of up to 1,200 properties in one of the city's oldest riverfront neighborhoods. In the early 19th century the area was home to a large Irish community and today reflects that heritage as well as the contributions of African-American, Hispanic and Polish populations. Historic resources include industrial buildings, small vernacular homes, churches, transportation systems and Buffalo's famed grain elevators.

The project, to be completed by Clinton Brown Company Architecture of Buffalo, will result in the identification of individual properties and neighborhoods that could be eligible for State and National Register of Historic Places designation. If future nominations are successful, the property owners would be able to take advantage of State and Federal Tax Credit programs for rehabilitation.

"We're looking forward to documenting the history of the community that helped build Buffalo," said Laura Kelly, Executive Director of the Old 1st Ward Community Association. "The waterfront was and is the place where industry and innovation thrive alongside the hardworking people who make it possible."

The Preserve New York Grant Program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. "With the announcement of the 2013 awards, the total support provided by Preserve New York since its launch in 1993 is over $1.8 million to 292 projects statewide," said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. "Preserve New York has a strong track record of bolstering local preservation efforts and delivering a strong return on investment."

"At its August, 2013 meeting, the Preserve New York grant program panel selected 13 applicants in nine counties around the state to share $100,000 in funding," said Tania Werbizky, the League's Regional Director of Technical and Grant Programs in western New York. "As always, the competition for these funds was intense. The Preservation League is delighted to help advance the preservation efforts of these Buffalo organizations with timely funding from Preserve New York grants."

Organizations and municipalities receiving grant awards in 2013 are: Albany County: Historic Albany Foundation; Erie County (2): Old First Ward Community Association, Buffalo; Preservation Buffalo Niagara, Buffalo; Kings County: Historic Districts Council, New York City; Ontario County (2): 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse; Geneva Business Improvement District; Monroe County: Landmark Society of Western New York, Rochester; Montgomery County: Village of Canajoharie; Niagara County: City of Lockport; Schenectady County: Vale Cemetery Preservation, Inc.; Sullivan County: Beaverkill Neighbors Association.

For more information on the Preserve New York Grant Program, please call 518-462-5658 or visit the League's website at www.preservenys.org.