The Preservation League of New York State, as part of a four-state coalition, has announced targeted grants to projects in the communities of Whallonsburg, Saranac Lake, Blue Mountain Lake, and Oneida.
The grants are expected to assist in the restoration and reuse of historic buildings in areas that have lost jobs and investment due to the downturn in the forest products industry.
These funds are made possible by an award to the Preservation League of New York State along with the Preservation Trust of Vermont, Maine Preservation, and the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC). The four states have evenly split the award of $1 million.
In total, fifteen projects have been funded by this collaboration, called the Northeast Heritage Economy Program. The organizations say they looked for projects that strengthen the communities they serve as well as their economies in areas that are suffering from the decline of the forest products industry.
Studies show that historic preservation investment supports small business and good-paying labor jobs, improves property values, keeps money circulating in local economies, catalyzes additional investment and increases community pride. The funds for this program, and all NBRC programs, are available thanks to the support of the congressional delegations of all four NBRC states: Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont.
- The Whallonsburg Grange Hall will receive $35,000 to renovate and repurpose the large, vacant building and riverfront greenspace across the road from the Whallonsburg Grange Hall, a performing arts and community center in Essex. The restored Whitcomb’s Garage will house two small businesses, a pottery and ceramics studio, space for classes, a retail store and café. The project builds on the successful volunteer-led renovation and rebirth of the Grange and is a step forward in the economic revival of this rural hamlet.
- Historic Saranac Lake will receive $75,000 to rehabilitate the former Trudeau home and medical office at 118 Main Street in Saranac Lake. This project will lead to an expanded museum campus that will help drive heritage tourism in the North Country. The space will host exhibits, collections storage, a resource room, public space for arts and cultural events, and rented office space. The over 5,000 square foot building was built in 1894 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- The Adirondack Experience (ADKX) in Blue Mountain Lake will receive $68,000 to restore the Log Hotel, an 1876 structure, along with two adjoining cottages. The work will address deterioration of the historic structures, which are the centerpiece of this thriving museum in the Adirondacks which welcomed over 54,000 visitors in 2019, including many regional school children.
- The Oneida Community Mansion House in Oneida will receive $52,000 to repair and rehabilitate a roof, masonry facade and associated internal framework of this National Historic Landmark building. Upon completion this will pave the way for expanded commercial space, allowing wellness and food service businesses to grow, as well as allowing the Mansion House to host public performances.
More information about these sites and the Northeast Heritage Economy Program can be found online.