The 2015 New York Statewide Preservation Conference theme is The Art of Preservation: Painting Your Community’s Future. Join us at our conference headquarters, the restored Smith Opera House in the Finger Lakes city of Geneva as we explore the role that the arts can play in helping us revitalize buildings and communities. We’ll also explore historic preservation as an art form unto itself–each building, each landscape, each community that we seek to revive requires a unique approach involving partnerships, funding sources and creative problem-solving.
Upstate New York boasts many small communities whose roots go deep into our state’s history. In these communities, Main Streets are the economic and cultural centers for and have been the center of civic life for generations. This sessions provides information on how two successful upstate communities spared their historic Main Streets from the wrecking ball through proactive efforts from the community, government officials, developers and consultants. Learn from the speakers how they navigated the preservation planning process from survey through rehab tax credit applications, and how both communities are on the cusp of revitalization through preservation.
1.) Village of Hamburg
Hamburg is a quaint suburban village ten miles south of Buffalo, NY. Revitalization efforts in the village date back to the 1990s, which included a village-wide reconnaissance-level historic resource survey and Main Street-focused intensive level survey that Bero Architecture conducted in 2002. In addition, revitalization work conducted by the NYS DOT was performed including four roundabouts, easing traffic congestion in the village and a streetscape and facade improvement program. These initiatives became catalysts for subsequent projects and developments along Main Street.
By 2012 many of the buildings had been spruced up but the Kronenberg building, the longtime anchor department store, had been vacant for several decades. A typical two-story commercial space, the village began revitalization efforts including rehabilitation, National Register nomination for the Main Street district and assistance with grant applications. Since the village laid the groundwork a developer expressed interest and now the building is back on the tax rolls, occupied and looks great!
Images courtesy of Katie Comeau, Bero Architecture, PLLC
2.) City of Gloversville
Like many small cities in upstate New York, Gloversville’s downtown served as the hub for cultural, commercial, and civic life for generations. This beautiful, historic area survived urban renewal efforts in the 1960s and big box development in more recent years and is on the cusp of a rich revitalization. This session will look at the past, present, and future of Gloversville’s downtown.
Katie Eggers Comeau, Bero Architecture PLLC
Katie Eggers Comeau is the architectural historian at Bero Architecture PLLC, where her preservation planning projects include historic resource surveys, National Register nominations, tax credit applications, and other research and documentation projects. She speaks to many groups on topics including Rochester’s Olmsted park system, 20th century architecture, and preservation planning.
Damon Ayer, Chair, Village of Hamburg Preservation Commission and Owner Mason’s Grille 52
As chairman of the Village of Hamburg Historic Preservation Commission, Damon Ayer has spearheaded the commission’s recent efforts to revitalize Hamburg’s Main Street. He is also owner of a Main Street business, Mason’s Grille 52.
Gregory Young, Supervisor, City of Gloversville
A lifelong resident of the City of Gloversville, Gregory is in his first term on the Fulton County Board of Supervisors. Young also teaches at the College of Saint Rose in Albany. He holds volunteer and leadership positions in a variety of causes and community organizations, including membership in Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council. Young holds bachelors (summa cum laude) and masters degrees from the College of Saint Rose in history and political science and is currently completing a PhD from the University at Buffalo.
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