Best of 2016: Preservation Successes in WNY

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It’s that time of year, when pundits, news outlets, and TV shows look back on the year in review, when  Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with best-of lists. So why not jump on the bandwagon? Here’s our look back at 2016 with our Top 12 (we couldn’t limit ourselves to just 10!) preservation successes.

Thank you to everyone who supports our work; together we can make a difference in communities across WNY. You can continue to support successes in your community by donating to our 2016 Annual Fund.

Here’s to many more successes in 2017!

1. Lyons saves 2 buildings and creates new historic district

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Arsenau House before rehab and repairs began

Local preservation advocates in the former village of Lyons rallied this past summer to save two historic buildings slated for demolition. Wayne County officials proposed to demolish the Arsenau House and the Park Bakery, two prominent buildings in the center of the village, facing the public square. With advice from Landmark Society staff, preservationists were able to convince Wayne County to offer the properties at public auction before moving towards demolition. The buildings were acquired by local residents and are in the process of being rehabilitated.

Arsenau House, after an exterior paint job and repairs

Arsenau House, after an exterior paint job and repairs

With assistance from Landmark Society staff, the Lyons Main Street Program successfully applied for funding to create a new National Register Historic District in the downtown commercial core. National Register listing will allow property owners to take advantage of the NYS and Federal historic tax credit programs.Work is well underway and the district should be in place in 2017.

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2. Food truck zone at St. Joseph’s Park

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Working with the City of Rochester, we were able to establish an official food truck zone right outside of St. Joseph’s Park. Partnering with our friends at Staach, we celebrated with a cleanup day and poutine from Le Petite Poutine. Earlier in the summer, Staach and Weld Works, LLC also worked with us to fabricate brand new benches for the park. Thanks to Staach, Weld Works, Rochester Downtown Development Corporation, the City of Rochester, the Rochester Police Department, and all those who have supported our work to improve St. Joseph’s Park and make it a downtown destination!

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3. Sunset Concerts play at Landmark Society sites

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This summer, the folks at Sunset Concerts expanded their programming to all three of our historic sites. Evening concerts at St. Joseph’s Park, Stone-Tolan Historic Site, and Ellwanger Garden attracted new crowds to these irreplaceable historic spaces.

4. Celebrate City Living launched

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Working with our partners in the Rochester Coalition for Neighborhood Living (which includes the City of Rochester, M&T Bank, Ibero-American Development Corp, The Housing Council at PathStone, NeighborWorks® Rochester, Citizens Bank, Greater Rochester Association of  Realtors, Game Plan Marketing, ROC City Realty, New2U Homes, Hart’s Local Grocers and Magellan Realty), we launched a new program designed to promote city living, housing, and neighborhoods. Celebrate City Living is a year-round program to encourage city residency for consumers at every stage of the housing search, including renters, first-time homebuyers, experienced owners, those who require financial assistance and those seeking high-end, luxury spaces.

The CCL website (www.celebratecityliving.com), along with the annual Celebrate City Living Expo in April and other neighborhood celebrations throughout the year, help consumers search city neighborhoods for a house or apartment and connect them to available resources, including REALTORS®, landlords, lenders, and non-profit agencies that specialize in city housing.

Follow along with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

5. YUPs join Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists

Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists meetup in Buffalo

Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists meetup in Buffalo

This past spring, the YUPs were proud to join a new coalition of young preservationist groups from across the Rust Belt (and beyond). Meetups took place in Pittsburgh, Buffalo, and Cincinnatti. The Coalition has fostered collaboration and friendships. Learn more on the RBCoYP blog and follow along on Instagram.

Inspired by fellow RBC members, the YUPs also held the first heart bombing event. (Never heard of heart bombing? Click here to learn more). Despite the exceptionally frigid temps, the event was a great success! The YUPs partnered with the Lincoln Branch Library to teach kids about the value that historic buildings can have in their community and how vacant buildings can be turned around to become assets to the community. We’ll be heart bombing again February 11, 2017–stay tuned for details!

6. East Main Street Downtown Historic District completed

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Photo: Gina DiBella

The Landmark Society completed the National Register nomination for the East Main Street Downtown Historic District. The district encompasses a five-block area on the east side of the Genesee River in downtown Rochester, including one of our 2015 Five to Revive listings, the E. Main St./N. Clinton Ave. retail district. Although the heart of the district is East Main Street, portions of streets that extend north and south with contiguous historic properties are included: Mortimer Street, Division Street, Franklin Street, Pleasant Street, Atlas Street, Achilles Street and Liberty Pole Way.

The district was approved by the State Review Board in the fall and will be sent to the National Park Service for final approval shortly. With this listing, nearly 30 properties can now access the historic tax credit programs, which should help spur the ongoing revitalization of the downtown core.

7. Geneva receives Downtown Revitalization Initiative

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Downtown Geneva was selected as the winner of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative in the Finger Lakes region. Over the last decade, Geneva has emerged as a major employment center, boasting over 200 firms and nearly 1,500 jobs in the central business district alone. Geneva’s historic walkable downtown is poised to become a vibrant retail, dining, cultural and entertainment destination for the burgeoning workforce and for students at the three local colleges. Under the DRI, the City will focus on the rehabilitation of key buildings; diversification of housing and retail options; access to healthy food; and building entrepreneurship in the downtown area.

We’ll be partnering with local leaders in Geneva to facilitate the rehabilitation of downtown historic buildings, including our 2016 Five to Revive, the Dove Block.

8. LGBTQ Initiative launched

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In August, we announced the launch of our newest initiative–a Rochester LGBTQ Landmarks Survey. The survey will identify landmarks of significance in the history of Rochester’s LGBTQ community and recognize their importance both historically and culturally.

9. Landmark Travel Tours goes to Cuba!

Our travel tour program left the country for this first time in years to journey to Cuba. It was an educational, jaw-dropping and awe-inspiring trip at a time when the country is undergoing significant changes. We’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

 

10. Conference goes to Albany

Photo: Chris Brazee

Photo: Chris Brazee

For the first time ever, our Statewide Preservation Conference ventured outside western New York to the Capital Region to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act. Partnering with our colleagues at Historic Albany Foundation, the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, and the Preservation League of NYS, we again had record-setting attendance, with just under 350 preservationists from across the state.

11. Phase 1 of Citywide survey completed

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Working on behalf of the City of Rochester, with funding from the City and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, we completed the first phase of a multi-year project to update a 1986 historic resources survey of the city of Rochester. As part of this first, pilot phase, we surveyed historic resources (buildings, parks, structures, and neighborhoods) in the city’s southeast quadrant. This project was an outgrowth of a past Five to Revive listing–the city’s Designated Buildings of Historic Value. Pending funding for future phases, we hope to continue this important work to document and catalog Rochester’s historic places.

12. Eastman Dental Dispensary saved

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Eastman Dental Dispensary before rehab.

What could be more appropriate to cap off our year of preservation successes than one of the biggest success stories in recent history? Built in 1917, the former Eastman Dental Dispensary had been vacant since the 1980s. It remained one of the most prominent at-risk historic buildings in the city until Home Leasing and Edgemere Development took on the $20 million rehab project. Now known as Eastman Gardens, the rehabilitated building provides affordable housing for seniors. The project recently received a NY State Historic Preservation Award.

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Eastman Gardens, after rehab.

 

Of course, none of these successes would be possible without the support of our members, donors, sponsors, tour-goers, and the community at large. So THANK YOU for supporting our work to protect irreplaceable historic places and revitalize communities.

You can continue to support our work across the region by making a contribution to our 2016 Annual Fund. 

 

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