Preservation League identifies seven historic sites to save this year

Photo courtesy of The Preservation League of New York state.
Shaker settlement a part of The Watervliet Shaker National Register Historic District in the town of Colonie. It was previously threatened by demolition, deterioration, lack of recognition and vacancy until joining The Preservation League’s “Seven to Save” list.

The Preservation League of New York State has included Albany’s South End-Groesbeckville neighborhood in its seven most endangered sites list.

Last week, lawmakers and preservationists shared the 2018-2019 “Seven to Save” list. Since 1999 the Preservation League every year has identified seven historic locations across New York state it hopes to designate as an historic landmark.

“By listing an endangered place on ‘Seven to Save’ what we are really doing is were making a commitment to work with local and state partners to elevate the threats to these places and make them closer to protection and preservation and ultimate reuse,” said Jay DiLorenzo, president of the Preservation League.

“A ‘Seven to Save’ designation from the group delivers invaluable technical assistance, fosters increased media coverage and public awareness and opens the door to grant assistance for endanger properties,” DiLorenzo said.

In Albany, the South End-Groesbeckville is a mid-nineteenth century district. It was a German and Irish immigrant-based community.

Kimberly Alvarez, acting board president and interim director of the Historic Albany Foundation, said the neighborhood has become a good representation of the issue of vacancy and statewide postings of large red x’s because of the adopted International Fire Code in 2015.

“These red x’s, while well intended to signify potential internal hazards to first responders, has unfortunately had [an] impact in increasing a sense of blight, calling attention to disinvestment,” Alvarez said.

With Albany’s South End being added to this year’s list, Alvarez hopes to find a way to fix these marked buildings, prevent further damage and eventually remove the x’s by improving the status of area with the help of the Preservation League.

For Assemblywomen Pat Fahy, D-Albany, and Assemblyman John McDonald, D-Cohoes, the historic preservation tax credit was a big win in the budget.

“The historical tax credit I think has been so instrumental, whether it’s main street or right here in downtown Albany, our towns our villages throughout upstate,” Fahy said. “I just couldn’t be more pleased. I know we’re both pleased. This is one of our big wins in the budget to fully restore the tax credit to make sure that it is decoupled from what the feds keep doing to cripple our efforts.”

McDonald also thanked the Preservation League for their hard work in bringing awareness to the rich historical culture across New York state and in Albany.

“As Pat had referenced in the state budget this past year we enhanced what we have known and seen to be successful throughout New York state, which is the New York state historic preservation tax credit,” McDonald said.

Legislative Gazette photo by Maria Enea
Jay DiLorenzo, center, announces The Preservation League of New York State’s 2018-19 “Seven to Save” endangered properties list with support from John McDonald, D-Cohoes, left, and Pat Fahy, D-Albany, right.

Another site also in Albany County on the list is the Watervliet Shaker National Register Historic District in Colonie, the first Shaker settlement in America, which is threatened by intruding development.

“Albany definitely has the potential to be a tourist destination and with this designation I think we can draw attention to that great potential and that great Shaker story that is so relevant to us today,” said Starlyn D’Angelo, executive director at the Shaker Heritage Society.

The “Seven to Save” list also includes  the Arcade Building in Jamestown, the Enlarged Erie Canal Schoharie Aqueduct in Fort Hunter, the Lehigh Valley Railroad Roundhouse in Manchester, Wells Barns throughout Monroe and Livingston counties, and historic opera houses statewide.