Projects Show How Historic Preservation Can Strengthen Economies and Promote New York’s Rich Culture
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced five outstanding projects from around state received 2017 New York State Historic Preservation Awards to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic landmarks. This year’s awards also give special recognition to the New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary CommemorationCommission.
“These businesses and organizations make it clear that honoring the past is critical to revitalizing communities, preserving our culture and growing local economies,” Governor Cuomo said. “I encourage New Yorkers to get out and explore these historic jewels and I congratulate this year’s recipients for their work to preserve the unique character of our state.”
“Historic preservation helps encourage reinvestment and revitalization in our cities, towns and neighborhoods,” State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said. “This year’s awards demonstrate the extraordinary commitments, hard work and strong partnerships that have made preservation an important tool for community renewal, economic development and job growth in New York. This year, we are also recognizing the Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary CommemorationCommission. The Commission’s dedication to articulating the history of the women’s rights movement and expanding the voices of women in government and our democratic process is essential to the progress of our state.”
Established in 1980, the state preservation awards are given by New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation each year to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic and cultural resources. This year’s awards were presented at a ceremony held at the New York State Museum in downtown Albany, which just unveiled the exhibit Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial. This year’s award recipients include:
The Residences at PS 186/Boys & Girls Club of Harlem, Manhattan, New York County
PS 186, designed in the Italian Renaissance Revival style in 1903, was a centerpiece of its Hamilton Heights community. After the school closed in the 1975, the building became a community eyesore. With the assistance of state and federal historic tax credits, the development team and the Boys & Girls Club have completely rehabilitated the building and created 78 units of mixed income residential housing that are co-located with a new 11,000-square-foot, state-of-the art clubhouse.
Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory, Poughkeepsie, Duchess County
The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory was constructed in 1874 and has long stood as a beacon of industry in Poughkeepsie, serving as the location for several manufacturing enterprises. By the late 20th century the brick factory was vacant and in desperate need of rehabilitation and reuse. Thanks to the outstanding commitment and cooperation of Hudson River Housing, Inc. and its state and local partners, the former factory has been transformed into a vibrant community hub. Using state and federal historic tax credits, the project is a vital blend of commercial and residential space in the downtown Middle Main neighborhood with a growing food and arts scene. The Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory aligns the many facets of Hudson River Housing’s work, providing affordable housing, training and employment opportunities, and accessible community spaces that bring people together.
Beaverkill Covered Bridge Rehabilitation, Town of Rockland, Sullivan County
The Beaverkill Covered Bridge was built in 1865 to span the upper Beaverkill Creek and helped provide access to a region that was nearly unpassable until its construction. In the 1990s, the Friends of the Beaverkill Community formed to advocate for the preservation of several threatened historic sites in the Beaverkill Valley. The covered bridge, a critical element of the community’s identify, was the group’s top priority. A detailed inspection in 2013 revealed major structural problems and the bridge was closed to traffic. At that point, an extraordinary team came together, led by the Friends, the Open Space Institute, and the Catskill Riverkeeper, which together provided essential support and coordination, assisted by Sullivan County and the town of Rockland, and supported by the Departments of Environmental Conservation and Transportation, all of whom worked with the State Historic Preservation Office to implement a preservation plan for the bridge. The newly restored bridge preserves one of the town’s most beloved landmarks, and shows the value of multiple public and private partners working together for the public good.
Richardson Olmsted Campus/Hotel Henry, Buffalo, Erie County
The Richardson Olmsted Campus redevelopment is a towering success story of adaptive reuse for one of the State’s most recognized and challenged buildings. Constructed as the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane, the iconic copper towers of the signature central building were built as a testament to the influence of Buffalo in the late 1800s. After the facility went out of use in 1974, the deteriorating H. H. Richardson designed buildings and abandoned Frederick Law Olmsted grounds loomed large for decades. Today, this National Historic Landmark is one of the largest historic preservation projects in the nation, and is part of the Buffalo-Niagara region’s resurgence as an arts and culture destination and mecca for architecture enthusiasts. The first redevelopment project was completed this year with Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center opening in April 2017 and the anticipated opening of the Lipsey Buffalo Architecture Center later this year.
Crown Heights North Association, Brooklyn, Kings County
In 2002, a group of neighbors on Sterling Place in Brooklyn met to discuss housing in their community. The neighborhood of fine rowhouses, apartment buildings, free-standing former mansions and large churches was now seeing intense development pressure from outside of their predominantly African and Caribbean American community. The group organized as the Crown Heights North Association and began the process of attaining New York City and National Register of historic Places status. With the assistance of the New York City-based Historic Districts Council and the Preservation League of New York, the Crown Heights North Association was able to designate and protect more than 1600 historic properties in their neighborhood. The association aids the community with workshops on predatory lending, landmarking regulations, grant and tax information, as well as community outreach events such as an annual Town Hall meeting, house and walking tours and a holiday lighting contest. Due to their service working and prompting tools for sustainable community planning, the Crown Heights North neighborhood is now the leader in all of New York City in the use of the Historic Homeowner Tax Credit program.
New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission
The New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission was created to develop statewide programs that celebrate women’s suffrage in New York State. Chaired by Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, the 14-member commission is working to promote the anniversary of women’s suffrage between 2017, marking 100 years from when women won the right to vote in New York State and 2020, a century after the 19th Amendment was ratified. Legislation establishing the commission the New York State Women’s Suffrage 100th Anniversary Commemoration Commission was sponsored by Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther and signed into law by Governor Cuomo.
New York’s State Historic Preservation Office, a division of State Parks, helps communities identify, evaluate, preserve and revitalize their historic, archeological, and cultural resources. The SHPO works with governments, the public, and educational and not-for-profit organizations to raise historic preservation awareness, to instill in New Yorkers a sense of pride in the state’s unique history and to encourage heritage tourism and community revitalization.