State Historic Tax Credits at risk

ADVOCACY ALERT – We need your help!

As many of our members and followers may know, New York State is lucky enough to have two excellent state historic tax credit programs: the NYS Historic Tax Credit Program for Income Producing Properties (or the NYS Commercial Tax Credit), and the NYS Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Tax Credit. The NYS commercial program works alongside the Federal Historic Tax Credit program and has been a critical element in the ongoing revitalization and economic development in downtown Rochester, city neighborhoods, and other smaller communities throughout our region. Many of the adaptive reuse projects we’ve seen across our region simply would not have been possibly without these programs – projects like Sibley Square, Eastman Dental Dispensary, Hilton Garden Inn, Carriage Factory Apartments, and many more.

The NYS Homeowner program provides tax credits to owner-occupied homes in historic districts and individually listed National Register properties. This program has helped homeowners in neighborhoods like Maplewood, the 19th Ward, Browncroft, the South Wedge, and more make improvements and repairs to their homes. (Visit the State Historic Preservation Office’s website to learn more about these programs).

Unfortunately, the NYS tax credit programs were not included in the Governor’s Executive Budget released on January 16th. This means the existence of these programs is at risk. But it’s not too late for your voice to make a difference. We need your help to communicate the economic value of the historic tax credit programs to NYS elected officials NOW.

Please contact your State representatives in the NYS Assembly and Senate as soon as possible to let them know that the State Historic Commercial and Homeowners Tax Credit programs are important to you. Ask them to advocate for them in the budget process.

The Landmark Society (and our statewide partners at the Preservation League of NYS) are focusing on two major requests: (1) extending the credits through 2024 and (2) de-coupling the state commercial credit from the federal historic tax credit.

Assemblymember Carrie Woerner and Senator David J. Valesky have introduced legislation to accomplish these goals (A.9882 / S.7648). Please write or call your NYS Assemblymember and Senator right away to ask them to include this legislation in ongoing budget negotiations.

Not sure who your NYS Senator is? Click here.

Not sure who your NYS Assembly representative is? Click here.

Not sure what to write? Feel free to use our template below as a starting point:

Dear __________:

I write to you to ask for your support of the NYS Historic Commercial and Historic Homeowners Tax Credit programs. As you may know, neither program was included in Governor Cuomo’s budget. As a citizen who lives in a community that has benefited greatly from these programs and stands to be harmed by their loss, I urge you to advocate for their inclusion in the 2018 budget.

The state and federal historic tax credit programs have been essential tools in economic development efforts throughout western New York. Without these programs, the ongoing revitalization of downtown Rochester and smaller rural communities in our region would be weakened and many more historic buildings would sit vacant, not contributing to local tax rolls.

The passage of the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which requires that the credit be spread over 5 years, has negatively impacted the market for historic tax credits and has jeopardized investor confidence in tax credit projects. Because the NYS Historic Commercial Tax Credit is linked to the federal, the changes in the federal program have also weakened the value of the state program. 

In light of this new situation, I ask for your support in securing two key provisions to save NYS Historic Tax Credits:

(1) Extend Historic Tax Credits through December 31, 2024. The extension of the NYS Historic Commercial Properties Tax Credit and NYS Historic Homeownership Rehabilitation Tax Credit will ensure that projects currently in the pipeline for investment and rehabilitation continue to move forward, with investor and developer confidence that the program will remain in place.

(2) Decouple the NYS Historic Tax Credit from the Federal Historic Tax Credit. Decoupling will ensure that the NYS credits may be taken all at once rather than over 5 years as the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 requires. Current estimates place the impact of this change at a 15% credit value reduction. If the credits are not decoupled, then the NYS Historic Tax Credit would likely see a similar reduction in value.

Assemblymember Carrie Woerner and Senator David J. Valesky have introduced legislation to accomplish these goals (A.9882 / S.7648). I’m asking you to support and include the language from these measures in Joint Legislative Budget Bills which will be drafted in March.

In light of this new situation, [insert company or individual name] respectfully requests that you advocate for the following critical changes to the NYS Historic Tax Credit programs during budget discussions:

Thank you for your support on this important issue.

Sincerely,

[insert name]

Best of 2017: Preservation in WNY

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 2017 with our Top 13 (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 80th Anniversary Campaign.

Here’s to many more successes in 2018!

1.The Landmark Society celebrates 80 years

Founded July 1937, The Landmark Society has been celebrating its 80th Anniversary year with a number of special events, beginning with our first-ever Gala attended by over two hundred in September, and continuing through the coming year with a night of performing arts in February, an al fresco dinner at our downtown St. Joseph’s Park in July, an art exhibition in September, and travel tours to Savannah, Georgia and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario – watch for more updates. We also launched our 80th Anniversary Capital Campaign to provide the grounding for our continued work on behalf of preservation across our region in the many years we have ahead; please consider joining us in in this work with a gift to the campaign.

2. Rochester’s only cobblestone seeing new life

Vacant for over a decade and listed on our 2015 Five to Revive list, the c. 1835 Lockwood-Alhart House on Culver Rd. – the city of Rochester’s only surviving cobblestone – is finally seeing new life: ground was broken for a micro-park on the property in August with funding from NeighborWorks Rochester, and the Triangle Neighborhood held a “Cobbleween” event for neighborhood families on the premises on Halloween night. Moreover, developer interest in the structure, and our funding of studies for the property through our Preservation Grant Fund, means there might be more good news on this unique community resource soon!

3. Landmark Society recognized by the Rochester Community Design Center

The Landmark Society was honored to receive honorable mention for the Joni Monroe Award at the Rochester Community Design Center’s 2017 Reshaping Rochester Awards ceremony in November “for its longstanding commitment to preservation in the community”. We admire the tireless work RCDC and its founding Executive Director Joni Monroe have done to ensure that the Greater Rochester region’s people and communities have a built environment befitting their potential and aspirations, so it is humbling to receive this recognition.

4. South Wedge’s Calvary – St. Andrew’s Church granted City Landmark status and repurposed as event / art space

When the Calvary – St. Andrews congregation dissolved earlier this year, the future of the unique late 19th-century church building they left behind, and the vitality of the surrounding residential South Wedge neighborhood, was in question, but thanks to the enterprising work of the Friends of Calvary – St. Andrews organization, the sublime property was protected as a City Landmark by the Rochester Preservation Board in the fall, and will continue to be enjoyed by the community as it is repurposed as an event and performing arts space.

5.Colgate Rochester campus receive City Landmark designation

The Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School campus (including its historic buildings and designed landscape) became an official designated City of Rochester Landmark in September. This means that as the property transitions to new owners, neighbors and the larger Rochester community can be assured that any new development will be sensitively incorporated into the historic campus, with review by the City’s Preservation Board. The features that give the campus its economic value will be preserved so that it can continue to be a part of the community long into the future.

The Landmark Society, along with a coalition of organizations that included Highland Park Neighborhood Association and NBN6, worked with the owners at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, to amend the landmark application and determine appropriate boundaries.

6. Water Flows, and People Follow, in Manhattan Square Park

Flowing water is a recurring theme and major attraction in prominent landscape architect Laurence Halprin’s work – including in his FDR Memorial in Washington and his Freeway Park in Seattle – but the fountain he designed for Rochester’s Manhattan Square (now renamed Martin Luther King Jr. Park) was dry for several decades…until the City of Rochester turned the water back on this summer after significant renovations! Cascading water has brought life and attracted people back to what had been a little-used and oft-maligned corner of the downtown landscape, pushing it closer to being the community focal point Halprin had hoped and intended it to be. Click here to read more. 

7. YUPs host Rust Belt Takeover

In July, The Landmark Society’s Young Urban Preservationists hosted a Rochester meetup of the Rust Belt Coalition of Young Preservationists. Nearly 70 preservationists came from Rust Belt cities (and beyond) to explore the Flower City’s history, preservation successes, and challenges. Visitors toured Mt. Hope Cemetery, High Falls, Wall\Therapy murals, the Public Market, and sampled local fare from adaptive reuse projects like Radio Social, the Swillburger/Playhouse, and of course, Nick Tahou’s.

8. CAMP takes ownership of Civil War Memorial building

The preservation and reuse of the Cattaraugus County Memorial & Historical Building, one of our 2015 Five to Revive, took a big leap forward this month when local preservation advocates from Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) took ownership of the building from the County. For the past three years, the County had had plans to demolish the building. CAMPers still have a long way to go to develop plans and raise funds to rehab the building but we’re incredibly proud of their efforts so far and we’ll be working with them to secure this important building’s future.

9. Landmark Society hosts summer youth program

The Landmark Society was the home for a youth employment program this past summer. Put a Face to the Place: Afro Rochester was a research based project to study local history through the lens of the built environment and biography, and produce a video documentary. It was funded by the Summer Youth Employment Program at RochesterWorks, Inc who partnered with Landmark Society and Kuumba Consultants. The program offers youth a summer job, but also provides training in employment and life skills, to further their future success.

The final project was a video documentary of faces and places chosen reflecting local Afro Rochester: Put a Face to the Place: Afro Rochester a video to teach about the remarkable people and place of our city. Click here to see the video and meet the youth.

10. Conference returns to Rochester

2017 saw yet another year of record-breaking attendance at the NY Statewide Preservation Conference with nearly 370 attendees from around the state. The Conference took place on E Main St. in downtown Rochester, showcasing the ongoing successes in the heart of downtown. We were honored to welcome Amy Nicole Swift, principal and owner of Building Hugger in Detroit, to Rochester as our Keynote Speaker. Amy spoke about the importance of expanding training and employment opportunities for women and young people in the traditional trades.

After a full day of conversation and learning at a wide range of breakout sessions and networking with fellow colleagues and community advocates, attendees were able to wind down at a special Preservation Partners Party at the Genesee Country Village and Museum. 

11. Main St. facade revealed

After decades of being covered up by a two-story billboard, the historic facade of the building at the corner of Main and Clinton Streets in downtown Rochester was finally unveiled this fall! Property owners are in the process of planning a major rehab for this building–just one more step forward in the revitalization of this 2015 block of Five to Revive buildings!

BEFORE

AFTER

12. Tavern Takeover at Stone-Tolan

The YUPs and Emerging Rochester Architects (ERA) hosted the first ever Tavern Takeover at the Landmark Society’s Stone-Tolan House Historic Site. Sponsored by architecture firm, Clark Patterson Lee, the event featured a campfire with s’mores, outdoor snacks, free-roaming of the grounds and, most importantly, beer from Swiftwater Brewing in the historic tavern! We had over 80 attendees (of all ages) join us to stroll the grounds and experience the Stone-Tolan House as 19th century frontier travelers would have.

13. Federal historic tax credits saved!

After much advocacy, the Tax Reform Bill retained the federal historic tax credit program, which has made possible many of the rehabs that are catalyzing positive economic and civic change in the western New York, particularly in downtown Rochester, and across the Rust Belt.

Released Friday, December 15, this version retained the Senate’s modification of the HTC, which mandates that users must take the credit over five years, instead of in the first year the building is placed in service. Although this will diminish the credit’s value, it’s a big win for preservation, as the House version of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act eliminated the credit completely.

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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 80th Anniversary Campaign.

 

ROC the Day on 11/28

On November 28th, our community will come together to ROC the Day, and The Landmark Society hopes to make it a huge success. ROC the Day is a 24-hour giving opportunity to support all eligible not-for-profits in the nine-county Greater Rochester area. Community members are encouraged to visit ROCtheDay.org, a secure online giving platform, to contribute to any participating not-for-profit organization. All money given during ROC the Day stays local. Donors have the ability make an impact by giving to one or multiple organizations to support their personal philanthropic passions. Donors and not-for-profits can share their investment with friends, family, coworkers and social networks to increase awareness for this community-wide effort.

As in past years, all ROC the Day donations will be directed to our Preservation Grant Fund. This vital program provides pre-construction funding to help get preservation projects off the ground. Since we launched the program in 2012, we’ve provided over $60,000 to help save at-risk historic places in communities throughout our region. These places include town halls, houses of worship, community gathering spaces, cemeteries, schools, and more.

One of our past grant recipients and subsequent Five to Revive properties was the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, NY. Built in 1911, the Memorial Building is a unique example of a Civil War Memorial that was designed for use as a municipal building. An elegant Neoclassical style building, it once housed a library and, until 2004, the County Historical Museum. In 2013, county officials announced plans for its demolition.

We worked with a newly formed advocacy group, Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP), to rally around this important building. A grant from our program helped fund a feasibility study and set the stage for CAMP to negotiate a transfer of ownership from the County.

Tom Stetz, president of CAMP, writes:

Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) was awarded a grant from the Landmark Society’s Preservation Grant Fund which allowed CAMP to save the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building from the wrecking ball.  This grant along with the continued support from the Landmark Society allowed CAMP to gain title to this Civil War Memorial building on October 4, 2017 and will now help CAMP move forward with its preservation and restoration efforts to “ RELIGHT THE DOME OF COURAGE” to honor the County’s Civil War Veterans.

After years of hard work and dedicated passion, we are delighted to see that the Preservation Grant Fund helped lead CAMP towards a positive outcome for this building. Your donation to the Preservation Grant Fund during ROC the Day on November 28th can help ensure more success stories for historic places that matter to people in communities large and small across our region.

Call for Session Proposals

The 2018 NY Statewide Preservation Conference takes place in Albany (April 26-28)! We’ll be surrounded by grandiose government architecture, diverse city neighborhoods, historic parks, and amazing adaptive reuse projects. Experts, grassroots community advocates, and new voices in the preservation movement will come together in Albany to learn from one another.

This conference will be presented by The Landmark Society of Western New York, Historic Albany Foundation, The Preservation League of New York State and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

In order to make this conference a success, we need your preservation projects, ideas and initiatives. Share your success stories, challenges, and new ideas with preservationists and community advocates from across the state. Submit your session proposal by Friday, November 3rd (at 11:59 PM) in order to be considered. Proposals on a wide variety of topics are welcome and encouraged.

 >>Click here to see more detailed information and submit a conference proposal.

Upcoming City landmark designation hearing

On Wednesday, July 19, the City of Rochester’s Preservation Board and Planning Commission will hold a special hearing to consider the historic campus of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School for City landmark designation. The campus is officially eligible for listing in the State and National Registers of Historic Places; city landmark designation would recognize the significance of the site and help ensure that future development efforts will be in keeping with the historic architecture and landscape.

The Landmark Society, along with a coalition of organizations that includes Highland Park Neighborhood Association, Highland Park Conservancy, Community Design Center Rochester, and Historic Brighton, supports the landmark designation of this highly significant historic campus.

Here is why we support landmark designation:

The buildings and designed landscape of Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School constitute a distinctive and unique resource in the Upstate and Western New York region. Its picturesque hilltop setting is a special space, not only aesthetically, but also because it embodies a religious and cultural heritage whose influence extends worldwide.

In recognition of its significance, the Divinity School campus and the surrounding community will be well-served by it obtaining landmark designation by the City of Rochester Preservation Board and Planning Commission.

Landmark designation does not prevent development but will ensure that:

  • the critical architectural, landscape, and cultural features that give the campus its significance are codified in the landmark designation paperwork;
  • any future development will be reviewed by architecture, real estate, landscape and planning professionals on the City of Rochester’s Preservation Board;
  • the design review process invites participation by the whole community;
  • the property owner and the neighborhood can continue to reap the economic benefits of a picturesque and intact historic campus;
  • future development of the site is consistent with the design, scale and purpose of the original campus as envisioned by architect James Gamble Rogers and landscape architect Alling de Forest.

How can you help?

Make your voice heard.

  1. We encourage you to join your neighbors and representatives of local cultural heritage organizations at City Hall on July 19 at 7:00pm to support the nomination of the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School campus to the list of City of Rochester landmarks. Other landmarks include: George Eastman House; Ontario Beach Carousel; Rochester City Hall; and the Powers Building. Take this opportunity to show city officials that this beautiful site is of enormous value to citizens from around the region, who urge its protection for generations to come.
  2. Written comments can also be submitted in advance to Peter Siegrist and Jill Wiedrick, Senior Planners with the City of Rochester. In-person comments are the most powerful but advance comments before the hearing will help prime the pump.
  3. Feel free to use our talking points above and/or information from the cover letters below but we also encourage you to personalize your letters and comments.
  4. Whether you plan to speak or not, attend the hearing and wear green to show your support for the historic campus and buildings.

Additional Resources

See the full application and contact information on the City of Rochester’s website 

Cover letter to Preservation Board – Submitted with the application for landmark designation, this letter addresses the specific criteria (as stipulated in section 120-193 of the City Code) that the Preservation Board members must use to address applications for landmark designation.

Cover letter to Planning Commission – Submitted with the application for landmark designation, this letter addresses the much more broad criteria (as stipulated in section 120-193 of the City Code) that the Planning Commission members must use to address applications for landmark designation.

Preservation Grant Fund Deadline: August 4th

Applications are now available for our next round of funding. Launched in September 2012, The Landmark Society’s Preservation Grant Fund program offers funds for preliminary design and planning studies to help make positive improvements to at-risk buildings. The program was initially funded through a bequest from Elizabeth (Libby) Stewart. Libby was a longtime Landmark Society staff member who was dedicated to the revitalization of neighborhoods and historic structures.

The Preservation Grant Fund provides initial “start-up” funding to assist in saving historic resources. The grant will not pay for any “bricks and mortar” work. Only pre-construction services are eligible for funding. Specific use of funds is flexible. Examples of eligible projects include:

  • code compliance studies
  • construction estimates
  • visual project renderings
  • measured drawings
  • cost comparisons

Recent grant recipients have included: Jefferson Avenue 7th Day Adventist Church in Rochester; 6 Madison St. in Rochester; and the Old Town Hall in Orangeville.

The amount of each request may not exceed $3,500. It is anticipated that the average gift will be approximately $2,500.

Contact Caitlin Meives to discuss your project and obtain an application. Applications will be due Friday, August 4, 2017.

For more information, visit the Preservation Grant Fund page.

Heart Bombs Across the Rust Belt

On February 11th, young preservationist organizations across the Rust Belt–in cities like Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Columbus, Cincinnati, Indianapolis–gathered in their respective cities to show their love for old buildings in need of some TLC. In Rochester, The Landmark Society’s Young Urban Preservationists (YUPs) convened at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church in the northeast section of the city.

How do you show your love for old buildings, you ask? By heart bombing them, of course! A phenomenon created by Buffalo’s Young Preservationists five years ago, heart bombing is a fun and festive way to draw attention to vacant buildings and to the potential that these buildings have to serve as community assets rather than eyesores. The process is simple: you gather all your favorite crafting supplies (construction paper, doilies, glitter, markers, etc) and your favorite preservationists in a room, make valentines for needy buildings, then go out and tape those valentines to the building(s) in question or just hold them up, take lots of pictures, and post those pictures to social media.

The YUPs put their own spin on heart bombing by involving young children. Like last year, we started the day by teaching some kids about preservation and how vacant buildings can be transformed into community assets. This year we worked with kids at the Polish School at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

The kids had a great time learning about preservation, watching the Disney film The Little House, and crafting their own valentines. Then we all headed across the street to heart bomb one of our 2013 Five to Revive, the former Pulaski Library.

After heart bombing Pulaski, the older YUPs headed off to a few more buildings…

The vacant former theater on Monroe Avenue:

A house in the Susan B. Anthony Neighborhood that has been vacant since 1996:

The Susan B. Anthony Museum & House. Not a building in need but we love it so much, we couldn’t help ourselves! (and we were in the neighborhood):

And, finally, the Hotel DeMay in Greece:

To learn more about why this building is at-risk, follow the Save the DeMay Facebook page.

To see heart bombing in action all over the Rust Belt and the rest of the country, search #IHeartSavingPlaces on Instagram. We hope you’ll continue to show your love for historic buildings all year long AND join us for next year’s heart bombing!

 

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. 

 

2016 Five to Revive announced

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Today we announced our 2016 Five to Revive – a list that identifies opportunities for targeted, strategic revitalization. The announcement was made at our headquarters on South Fitzhugh St. in Rochester. The list includes:

  • Former Rochester Brewing Company complex, Rochester, NY
  • Downtown Perry Block of Commercial Buildings, Village of Perry, Wyoming County
  • Dove Block, City of Geneva, Ontario County
  • Lake Ontario State Parkway, Monroe and Orleans Counties
  • The Traditional Trades

>>Click here to see the 2016 Five to Revive.

“This the fourth year that The Landmark Society of Western New York is announcing the Five to Revive list to call attention to key properties and priorities for revitalization in western New York,” said Wayne Goodman Executive Director.

“The Five to Revive initiative is proving to be very successful and continues to showcase our ongoing efforts demonstrating that preservation and adaptive reuse are effective strategies for revitalization in Western New York,” said Tom Castelein, Vice-President of Preservation on The Landmark Society Board who chairs the Five to Revive initiative.

The 2016 Five to Revive list represents a diverse selection of buildings, landscapes and preservation issues in Western New York.

Significant Progress

“Each year, The Landmark Society works closely on these priorities with owners, municipal officials, and developers to facilitate investment and foster rehabilitation,” said Goodman. The ultimate goal is to return these important historic resources to a place of prominence in their respective communities, as economic and social assets that spark even more investment and revitalization.

Most of the 2015 Five to Revive properties have moved closer to that goal. “The Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building has had a bumpy ride but with the hard work of a local advocacy group, Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP), things are looking brighter,” said Castelein. “The County is examining options for selling the property while our staff works with CAMP to explore options for future uses.”

The Former Wollensak Optical Company is on the market. The Main St. East/North Clinton Avenue Retail District will soon be listed in the National Register of Historic Places, providing developers access to the historic tax credit programs.

“Our partner on the Lockwood-Alhart Cobblestone House and Retail Plaza, NeighborWorks Rochester, has acquired funding to design a welcoming public space in front of the building,” said Goodman. “This should be the first step in making the Cobblestone a friendlier environment for the neighborhood.”

The Landmark Society is also working with two Fraternal Meeting Halls, the Grange Hall in Huron and the Carter Memorial G.A.R. Hall in Nunda, to assist with repairs and ideas for creative programming. The Huron Grange Hall also received funding from The Landmark Society’s Preservation Grant Fund to plan repairs, some of which were completed this summer.

>>Click here to see the 2016 Five to Revive.

Call for Session Proposals

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The 2017 NY Statewide Preservation Conference will take place April 6-8th in downtown Rochester. This conference will be presented by The Landmark Society of Western New York, Preservation Buffalo Niagara, Historic Albany Foundation, The Preservation League of New York State and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

In order to make this conference a success, we need your preservation projects, ideas and initiatives. Share your success stories, challenges, and new ideas with preservationists and community advocates from across the state. Submit your session proposal by Monday, November 14th (at 11:59 PM) in order to be considered. Proposals on a wide variety of topics are welcome and encouraged.

 >>Click here to see more detailed information and submit a conference proposal.