Category Archives: Awards

2013 Awardee – First Niagara Bank

PACNY is pleased to present the Preservation Merit Award in recognition of exceptional achievement in historic preservation to First Niagara Bank.

Founded in 1870, First Niagara Bank is one of Central New York’s larger banking institutions, with numerous branches, offices and ATMs located throughout Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.  First Niagara has a very active commercial lending department, proving construction and permanent lending to a wide range of real estate projects, including some of our region’s most recognized historic rehabilitation projects.  Federal and New York State rehabilitation tax credits have played a critical role in making these projects work.

First Niagara Bank is the only financial institution in Central New York who serves as a tax credit investor. The bank recently invested in both the Pike Block project on South Salina Street and the St. Patrick’s Lofts project in the Tipperary Hill neighborhood.  They are also serving as the construction lender for the St. Patrick’s Lofts project.

Finding a tax credit investor is very challenging, made more difficult by the complicated way that the NYS tax credit program is structured. Many potential historic rehabilitation projects in our region remain stalled because of the inability to find a tax credit investor.  First Niagara Bank’s decision to become the tax credit investor for these two important projects demonstrates both good business sense and laudable commitment to our community.

PACNY offers our appreciation and endorsement of First Niagara Bank’s contributions and investments toward restoring the historic legacy of our region.



2013 Awardee – New York State Senator David Valesky

PACNY is pleased to present the Preservation Merit Award in recognition of exceptional achievement in historic preservation to New York State Senator David Valesky (53rd Senate District).

Senator David Valesky

Senator David Valesky

Senator Valesky represents the 53rd Senate District, comprised of Madison County and parts of Oneida and Onondaga counties, including the majority of the City of Syracuse. Senator Valesky’s legislative priorities include fostering job creation, economic development, and historic preservation in New York. Throughout his tenure in the New York State Senate, Senator Valesky has been a staunch supporter and advocate for expanding historic preservation programs in New York. This has included sponsoring several laws that promote and support historic preservation and rehabilitation of historic properties in the state. Senator Valesky has previously been honored by the Preservation League of New York State for his support of historic preservation.

In 2010, Senator Valesky led a bi-partisan effort to enact New York State’s first meaningful rehabilitation tax credit program for historic properties for both commercial businesses and private homeowners. This program has resulted in millions of dollars of economic development while contributing to the rehabilitation of underutilized and vacant historic buildings. More recently, Senator Valesky sponsored Bills S2164 and S2165, which make the New York State rehabilitation tax credit for historic commercial properties also available as a refund to qualified taxpayers and extends the availability of the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit programs for commercial and owner-occupied properties for five years.

PACNY appreciates and applauds Senator Valesky’s leadership in introducing these critical pieces of legislation that encourage and enable the rehabilitation of historic properties in Central New York and throughout the state.

2013 Awardee – Cortland Free Library

PACNY is pleased to present a Tender Loving Care Award to the Cortland Free Library in Cortland, New York for maintaining exceptionally high standards of care for a historic property. 

The Cortland Free Library, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located at 32 Church Street and is a significant landmark in downtown Cortland.  The library was built in 1928 and is a colossal, one-story building in the Georgian-Revival style constructed of tan tapestry bricks laid in Flemish bond above a stone basement.  The main entrance to the library is marked by a projecting portico with four columns paired at each end. Originally, the portico was approached by a wide staircase that was replaced in 1976 with a smaller side staircase and a long handicapped ramp occupying nearly the entire northern half of the front of the building.

In 2011-2012 the library undertook a capital campaign to fund the design and construction of improvements to the entrance of the library.  Significant funding was provided by the Cortland Community Foundation as well as the generous support of numerous private benefactors.

Work conducted at the front entrance included removing the deteriorating front ramp, restoring the original front staircase, and adding a new handicapped entrance around the corner of the building.  The restored front entrance was re-opened in February of 2013.  This project is as an excellent example of restoring the original grandeur of a landmark civic building while maintaining critical accessibility for all users.

PACNY applauds the Cortland Free Library for their stewardship of this impressive landmark building.