Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

January 06, 2006

Catherine Jimenez

State Parks Awards $94,000 For Local Historic Preservation

Grants Awarded to Nine Communities Across New York State

(Albany, NY, Friday, January 6, 2006. . . ) New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Bernadette Castro today announced nine grants totaling $94,450 to support historic preservation efforts in communities throughout the state. Among the Certified Local Government (CLG) projects highlighted are $15,000 to the city of Niagara Falls to survey industrial properties and $9,750 to the village and town of New Paltz to prepare National Register nominations for two historic districts.

"Governor Pataki is a leader in recognizing the importance of the historic and cultural resources in New York State and providing opportunities for communities to protect and enhance their local heritage," said Commissioner Castro, State Historic Preservation Officer. "Communities that participate in the Certified Local Government program are making an investment in the future through ongoing preservation efforts. The CLG project awards enable local governments to increase awareness of our heritage, educate the public on the importance of historic preservation and provide opportunities for people to plan for the future while recognizing the past."

The Certified Local Government Program is a federal program administered by the Field Services Bureau of the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS). To become a CLG a local municipality applies to and is certified by SHPO and the NPS that it has passed appropriate preservation legislation and appointed a review commission that meets state and federal standards. By becoming a CLG, a community essentially becomes a local partner with the SHPO in historic preservation and can strengthen its ability to make decisions regarding local preservation, community improvement, development and planning.

After becoming a CLG, a community becomes eligible to apply for federal grants through the SHPO. Projects such as historic resource surveys, public education programs, design guidelines and local preservation plans are eligible for funds. There are 50 CLG communities across New York that receive a wide range of special services, including grants, legal and technical assistance and training.

The city of Niagara Falls will receive a $15,000 grant to perform a reconnaissance level historic resources survey of its industrial properties, including power, manufacturing and chemical industries. During the 19th and 20th Centuries, Niagara Falls was one of the most important industrial cities in the Northeast. Many of the industrial facilities have been abandoned and are threatened with demolition. By documenting the significant historic industrial resources in the city, the properties could be identified as possible candidates for preservation and redevelopment.

The village and town of New Paltz will receive a $9,750 grant to prepare State and National Register nominations for two historic districts located at opposite ends of its commercial center. The village and town are developing a "Main Street Initiative" and register nominations will help to enhance local efforts to revitalize the central business district.

"As an organization providing legal and technical assistance and commission training across the state, the Preservation League has seen first-hand the enormous value of the Certified Local Government Program," said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League of New York State. "The CLG grants are instrumental in helping municipalities achieve their goals of downtown revitalization, neighborhood enhancement, and continued use of their historic places."

"The CLG program provides local governments the opportunity to protect their historic downtowns and neighborhoods," said Robert B. MacKay, Chairman of the New York State Board for Historic Preservation. "The program helps fund the essential training, surveys and community education efforts that are vital to local planning and historic preservation activities."

Other CLG grant projects include educational initiatives, newsletters and publications, and comprehensive surveys. For more information regarding the Certified Local Government program, contact Austin O'Brien, Certified Local Government Coordinator, at SHPO at (518) 237-8643. The following Certified Local Government communities also received grant awards for historic preservation projects.

Monroe County
City of Rochester     $9,450
The city of Rochester will develop a training initiative in an effort to disseminate information and guidance to several local preservation commissions in the Rochester area. Through a regional meeting of local communities, training was identified as a need among 20 preservation commissions in western New York. The training sessions will also be available to members of intergovernmental boards in Rochester. Rochester will administer the grant in cooperation with nearby CLG communities, including the villages of Brockport and Pittsford and the town of Irondequoit. In an effort to increase local preservation awareness, the city will also install signs identifying eight historic districts in Rochester.

Nassau County
Village of Great Neck Plaza     $5,000
In an effort to strengthen local preservation activities, the village of Great Neck Plaza will offer its local preservation commission members and local officials a technical training program with an emphasis on legal issues and design review. The village will develop the training program in consultation with the Preservation League of New York State.

Oneida County
City of Utica     $13,500
The city of Utica will produce a brochure and offer a series of workshops to disseminate information extrapolated from the Scenic and Historic Preservation Commission Design Guidelines that were produced in 2003. The brochure will be distributed to property owners, design professionals, contractors, lawyers, realtors, community leaders, and other interested individuals. The project will also offer a series of public workshops covering a variety of topics related to preserving local historic and cultural properties.

Orange County
City of Newburgh     $10,000
In consultation with the Preservation League of New York State, the city of Newburgh will develop a technical preservation training program for its local commission members. The initiative will strengthen the ability of the commission to identify and preserve local historic and cultural resources.

Saratoga County City of Saratoga Springs     $11,250
The city of Saratoga Springs will update its Historic Preservation Guidelines Handbook which was created in 1989. The handbook will be revised, redesigned, reprinted, digitized and made available online. The updated handbook will help to strengthen local historic preservation efforts.

Westchester County
Town of Yorktown     $8,000
The town of Yorktown will produce a brochure that highlights local historic and cultural resources and describes the CLG program. The project is intended to increase local preservation awareness. The completed brochure will be printed and distributed locally and will be digitized and available on the Town website.

City of New Rochelle     $12,500
The city of New Rochelle will undertake an intensive level historic resources survey for the Residence Park residential neighborhood. A reconnaissance level survey was completed for the area in the late 1990s and this project will provide detailed information about each property and develop a historic context for the neighborhood. The survey will be used as a basis for recognizing the significance of the neighborhood at the local, state and national levels, and will increase community interest in the heritage of the city.