The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced twelve historic rehabilitation projects in the region that will be supported by more than $470,000 in federal grants and local matching funds.
Made under the Genesee Valley Rural Revitalization Grant Program (GVRR), this second round of funding will support such projects as structural repairs and restoration work of historic commercial buildings, ADA compliance upgrades to public spaces, and window improvements for a creative arts center. The first round of grant winners were announced in September 2021 and included over $300,000 to five awardees.
“These business owners, nonprofits, and local government units are deeply connected to the economic health of their rural communities, and all have historic assets that need support,” said Erik Kulleseid, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “We are thrilled that these projects aim to increase accessibility and sustainability through preservation efforts and welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that investments in local historic resources can have a powerful impact for New York’s rural communities.”
GVRR is supported by a $750,000 award made to the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) through the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Fund as administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Another $43,250 in matching funds were provided by the Rochester Area Community Foundation, Letchworth Gateway Villages, and the Landmark Society of Western New York.
“The Landmark Society is thrilled to be assisting OPRHP in administering this grant program. We are currently working with Round 1 awardees and seeing the impact this funding has on their ability to complete important preservation, restoration, and repair work and are looking forward to starting the projects awarded in Round 2,” said Wayne Goodman, Executive Director of the Landmark Society of Western New York, which is co-administering the GVRR program. “This grant program has shed light on the need for this type of funding in our rural communities around the Genesee Valley.”
Here are some of the local winners in the Finger Lakes:
- Cracker Box Palace (Wayne County): Cracker Box Palace will receive $50,000 for the stabilization and renovation of Shaker First House, Wayne County’s largest animal shelter, which is listed as a contributing structure on the National Register of Historic Places and was recently severely damaged by a fire.
- Village of Nunda (Livingston County): The Village of Nunda will receive $8,850 for ADA upgrades of the Nunda Village Hall. The Hall has been determined to be eligible for inclusion in the State/National Registers of Historic Places as part of the Nunda Village Historic District.
- Dierdre Stevenson/ The Sutton Company (Ontario County): Business owner Dierdre Stevenson will receive $50,000 to complete a series of necessary and urgent extreme structural repairs to the historic store building, which was built in the 1800s and is currently home to The Sutton Company. It is a contributing structure to the Central Naples Historic District, which was recently listed on the State/National Registers of Historic Places. The Sutton Company was added to the New York State Historic Business Preservation Registry in September 2022.
- Town of Phelps (Ontario County): The Town of Phelps will receive $50,000 for roof repairs and upgrades to the Phelps Town Hall, which was constructed ca. 1849 and is listed on the State/National Registers of Historic Places. A portion of the grant will be used to reinstall the clock/bell tower, which has been undergoing restoration and rehabilitation.
- Livingston Integrated Management Associates LLC (Livingston County): Livingston Integrated Management Associates LLC will receive $50,000 to support a full restoration of the west façade of the Ellis Block, a commercial storefront listed on the State/National Register of Historic Places. The project includes window restoration, cornice repair/restoration, lighting improvements, weatherization and ADA upgrades.
- Romulus Historical Society (Seneca County): The Romulus Historical Society will receive $6,300 for foundation repairs and attic insulation/weatherization of the Chief Engineer’s House, which is part of the former Willard State Hospital Complex. The complex’s buildings have been determined to be eligible for inclusion in the State/National Registers of Historic Places and the Town of Romulus and the Historical Society are committed to finding new community use for the buildings once the State officially transfers ownership to the Town.
- United Methodist Church of Sodus (Wayne County): The United Methodist Church of Sodus will receive $50,000 for a boiler and elevator lift replacement as well as funding for nomination to the National Register, since the building is eligible but not yet listed in the State/National Registers of Historic Places. It is used primarily as a house of worship but also serves as a community gathering space available for several different functions, including a popular farmers’ market.
Created in 2018, the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program supports rehabilitation of historic properties as part of economic development in rural communities for properties either listed on the state and national Registers of Historic Places or expected to be listed. This program funds preservation projects for historic sites, including architectural and engineering services, and physical building preservation.
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