Montgomery Co. Organizations Earn Technical Assistance Grants

Preservation League Presents $3,500 to Two Groups

ALBANY, NY (08/15/2013)(readMedia)-- The Preservation League of New York State has awarded Technical Assistance Grants to two Montgomery County groups directly engaged in the stewardship and public use of historic buildings. A $3,000 grant to Friends of Fort Plain will support the cost of a structural engineering analysis at Diefendorf Hall, and a $500 grant to the Mohawk Valley Collective will support the cost of a structural assessment of the vacant West Hill School in Canajoharie.

Diefendorf Hall, located at 47 Main Street, is a three-story, five-bay brick in the heart of Fort Plain's downtown. It previously served the community as the Rialto Theatre and an American Legion Post but was recently threatened with demolition. A 2011 study underwritten by the Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund of the Preservation League of New York State identified the need for a stabilization plan for the building's west wall, south wall, and north roof truss. Klepper Hahn & Hyatt of Syracuse will complete the analysis.

Friends of Fort Plain plan to use Diefendorf Hall as a cultural community center, with permanent exhibits highlighting Fort Plain's Erie Canal heritage and the visit of Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton to the hall in 1867.

"Thanks to the technical assistance and financial support provided by the Preservation League of New York State, we are moving closer to making this longtime downtown anchor useful to the community once again," said Micki Lieber of Friends of Fort Plain.

The Mohawk Valley Collective will use the TAG funding for an immediate structural assessment West Hill School which stands above the Village of Canajoharie. Built in 1892, the school was threatened with demolition following county tax foreclosure. The Collective must ascertain the structural stability of the school before they proceed with repairs and stabilization. Klepper Hahn & Hyatt will also complete this analysis.

Historic Fort Plain, now known as the Mohawk Valley Collective, received $2,750 in TAG funding in 2012 to complete a structural conditions analysis on the village's former Universalist Church.

"We are very lucky to have a partner like the Preservation League in pursuing projects such as the stabilization of Canajoharie's West Hill School," said Tolga Morawski, Treasurer of the Collective. "The League's TAG awards serve as a gateway to more substantial grants, acting as a vetting process for newer organizations like our own – reflecting that what we're doing is sensible and worthwhile."

The Preservation League of New York State launched the Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) program in 2012 to support discrete projects that preserve New York State's cultural and historic resources. Grants of up to $3,000 are available to not-for-profit arts and cultural groups and municipalities managing historic sites, museums, arts facilities and other culturally important institutions that are located in historic buildings and structures open to the public.

"In a very competitive grant round, applicants sought funds for technical studies to be carried out by preservation and design professionals which included building conditions surveys, engineering and structural analyses, and feasibility and reuse studies," said Erin Tobin, the League's Regional Director of Technical and Grant Programs in eastern New York. "The Preservation League is delighted to help advance the efforts of two Montgomery County groups deeply committed to historic preservation with these grants."

Guidelines for application for the second of two grant rounds in 2013 are now available on the League's website. Applications must be received by September 16, 2013. A total of $11,553 is available statewide for the fall funding cycle, and funded work must be completed by the end of the calendar year. Each grant recipient must provide a $500 match and the cost of the project may not exceed $3,500.

The Preservation League of New York State is a private, not-for-profit organization that works to protect and enhance the Empire State's historic buildings, landscapes and neighborhoods. The Technical Assistance 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.

"The TAG program builds on the record of excellence the League has established with the similarly NYSCA-funded Preserve New York Grant program," said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. "Our TAG program fills a significant funding gap. It is tailored to provide support to worthy projects in New York that are ineligible for grants from other sources, or may not have the scope or scale to compete at regional and national levels."

The following received TAG support in the first funding round of 2013: Montgomery County (2): Friends of Fort Plain; Mohawk Valley Collective; New York County: Lilac Preservation Project, New York; Niagara County (2): Heritage for Hope and Service, Inc., Niagara Falls; Tonawanda's Council for the Arts, North Tonawanda; Oneida County: Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute, Utica; Ontario County: Victor Historical Society, Victor; Orleans County: Cobblestone Society, Albion; Saratoga County: Universal Preservation Hall, Saratoga Springs; Schoharie County: Town of Jefferson; Steuben County: Save the Lyon Commission, Inc., Bath, Suffolk County: Eastville Community Historical Society, Sag Harbor; Washington County: Whitehall Skene Manor Preservation, Inc., Whitehall.

For more information on the League's Technical Assistance Grant program, please call 518-462-5658 or visit the League's website at


For Friends of Fort Plain

Immaculata Leiber, President

(518) 993-3087; For Mohawk Valley Collective

Tolga Morawski, President

(518) 993-5506;