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Call Your Federal Representatives! Tell Them Why Historic Tax Credits Are Crucial To Redevelopment

Federal Historic Tax Credits (HTC) have been instrumental to the revitalization and redevelopment of downtown Syracuse over the past several years, and Centerstate CEO president Robert Simpson has been one of the strongest advocates for their use. In response to threats that the current tax reform plan in Congress, Simpson stated the following on PACNY’s email list:

I cannot say it strongly enough: this program is critical to our continued reinvestment in our urban core, to the revitalization of older cities and to all of our efforts not just in Syracuse but across Upstate New York.

We (our community) have literally used this tool dozens upon dozens of times, not just in downtown but in almost every neighborhood in the City. In small projects and large projects. For developers and for homeowners. It is a truly brilliant public policy/smart growth tool that encourages re-investment in the very places where sprawl has created disinvestment over decades. It is also, up until now, a highly predictable and consistent tool that businesses, homeowners and developers can count on as they examine the financial feasibility of these revitalization projects. To lose it would be an absolute travesty for our City and all Upstate NY communities. In anticipation of tax reform of some kind, we have been talking to Congressman Katko (and other Upstate NY representatives) about this issue for some time. He is fully supportive of KEEPING the credit, as are Senators Schumer and Gillibrand.

Ironically, at the very same time that some in Washington are looking to do away with this program that has triggered billions of reinvestment in our Cities, we are having the opposite conversation in Albany. As you recall, NYS established a parallel tax credit program that mirrors the federal credit at the state level several years ago. That program can be stacked on top of the federal credit, which has closed the “gap” on dozens of projects like the Hotel Syracuse, the Dietz Building, the Pike Block and so many others. That program is set to expire in January of 2019 and so we are making a strong push for NYS to reauthorize it in this coming legislative session so that there is no lag when the program’s future is in jeopardy. The Governor’s office has been a huge advocate for that, and for finding new and creative ways to make the program work even better. This is an issue where we have had support from our entire CNY state delegation over the years.

This program works. We need it.

Representatives will be in their districts October 27 to 30. Please consider inviting them to tour a Historic Tax Credit project. Engage municipal officials and local developers in meeting with Representatives in their district office. Contact information for your representatives is online here  and senators here.

Learn more about the tax credits with this video posted at the National Trust for Historic Preservation website. It starts with President Ronald Reagan in 1981 praising the program and explaining how it will return federal dollars to local communities.

 

PRESERVE NEW YORK GRANT SUPPORTS GREATER WESTCOTT NEIGHBORHOOD PROJECT

Jay DiLorenzo, president of the Preservation League of New York State, and Grant Johnson, PACNY president, at the Preserve New York award ceremony in Albany.

The Preservation Association of Central New York (PACNY) received a $10,000 Preserve New York grant from the Preservation League of New York State for a reconnaissance-level survey of the Greater Westcott Neighborhood. The grant will be used to create a nomination for listing in the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

PACNY’s award was among 30 grants in 21 counties. The New York State Council on the Arts, the Preservation League of New York State and the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation announced the recipients of the 25th round of grant funding Sept. 12 at a news conference in Albany.

“This project fits into our core mission of advocating for the preservation of historic buildings and neighborhoods,” said PACNY President Grant Johnson, who attended the grant event. “We hope a successful nomination of the Greater Westcott Neighborhood to the National Register will enable more building owners to take advantage of New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits.”

The Westcott Neighborhood is a streetcar suburb that illustrates urban and social changes from the late 19th through the early 20th centuries, including the rise in popularity of single detached homes. The neighborhood retains a commercial hub as well as a number of religious and civic buildings.

PACNY will use the $10,000 grant to hire Samuel D. Gruber and Bruce Harvey of Syracuse to complete the survey and State and National Register nominations.

Three other Onondaga County projects also won Preserve New York grants. They are:

  • The University Neighborhood Preservation Association was awarded $10,800 to create a Gustav Stickley House Historic Structure Report. The 1900 house is one of the premier Arts and Crafts sites in the United States.
  • The Greater Syracuse Land Bank won a $4,000 grant to create a Building Condition Report for the South Presbyterian Church. The vacant church at 2110 S. Salina St. dates to 1906. Its longtime congregation left in 2006, and the Land Bank will use the building condition report to provide guidance on preservation and maintenance for prospective new owners.
  • The Village of Fayetteville received $6,341 to complete a reconnaissance-level survey of historic resources. A survey will help to determine eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places, which would expand the availability of historic rehabilitation tax credits for approved repairs to older buildings.

The Preserve New York grant program is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. The Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation has provided additional support for projects in New York City, Nassau and Suffolk counties.

Sacred Sites Weekend Opens with Talk at Manlius Church  

Brennan Stained Glass Studio worked on the recent restoration of windows at Christ Church in Manlius. The church’s oldest stained glass window dates to 1867. Scott Brennan will discuss the project and the windows at a talk 10 a.m. Saturday, May 20, at the church, 407 E Seneca St, Manlius.

At least seven local congregations will participate Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, in the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s statewide Annual Sacred Sites Open House Weekend. The Preservation Association of Central New York (PACNY) is once again co-sponsoring the event. This year’s theme is Stained Glass: Windows on this World and the Next.

PACNY kicks off the weekend with a 10 a.m. Saturday talk at Christ Church, 407 East Seneca St., Manlius, by Scott Brennan, of Brennan Stained Glass Studios. In “Christ Church’s Stained Glass Treasures,” Brennan and parishioner Robyn Visser will talk about the church’s window restoration project.

Highlights include the 150th anniversary of the placement of the first stained glass window at Christ Church in 1867, the St. Luke window over the altar and documentation that shows at least two of the church’s windows are Tiffany. The talk is free and open to the public.

After the talk, be a tourist in your own town by visiting open houses in Onondaga, Oneida, Madison and Tompkins counties. Central New York sites are among more than 165 open houses statewide. For a complete listing of participating sites statewide visit the Online Weekend Guide at www.sacredsitesopenhouse.org.

The annual Open House Weekend has three main objectives:

  • To encourage sacred sites to open their doors to the general public. Inviting visitors is a great way to build broad community support for the ongoing preservation of historic institutions.
  • To inspire residents to be tourists in their own town, introducing non-members to the history, art and architecture embodied in sacred places.
  • To publicize the many programs and services religious institutions offer their neighbors.

“This event is an opportunity for the community to learn about the historic and cultural significance of these landmark buildings, experience the beauty of some of Syracuse’s hidden architectural treasures and understand the challenges in their ongoing preservation,” said PACNY board member John Auwaerter.

Below are details about the Syracuse-area participants.

Saint Marianne Cope Shrine & Museum

601 North Townsend St., Syracuse

Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Assumption Church

812 North Salina St., Syracuse

Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Christ Church, Manlius

407 East Seneca St., Manlius

Saturday 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

University United Methodist Church

1085 East Genesee St., Syracuse

Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Grace Episcopal Church

819 Madison St. (414 University Ave.), Syracuse

Sunday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

St. Paul’s Church

310 Montgomery St., Syracuse

Saturday and Sunday 12-4 p.m.

Church of the Saviour

437 James Street, Syracuse

Saturday 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Sunday 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church

12 1/2 Madison St., Hamilton

Saturday 12-4 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m.-12 p.m.