Five Projects in the Capital Region, Finger Lakes, New York City and Mid-Hudson Honored for Protection and Rejuvenation of Historic Landmarks
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced five distinctive projects from across the state received 2016 New York State Historic Preservation Awards to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic landmarks. This year's awarded projects include the restoration and adaptation of World War II Naval hangars and a burial project to lay the unmarked remains of 14 enslaved people to rest.
"By honoring the past and preserving the unique character of New York culture, these projects help revitalize communities and attract new visitors and economic activity," Governor Cuomo said. "I congratulate this year's recipients on their great work to honor the rich history of the Empire State and preserve these assets for generations to come."
State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey said, "Historic preservation helps encourage reinvestment and revitalization in our cities, towns and neighborhoods. 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. The historic preservation awards recognize the achievements of individuals, organizations and governments that make significant contributions to historic preservation and revitalization efforts across the state."
Established in 1980, the state preservation awards are given by the 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 award-winning Quackenbush Building in downtown Troy, home of the Tech Valley Center of Gravity—an innovative business incubator for creative enterprises.
This year's award recipients are below:
Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground Project, Menands, Town of Colonie
This past summer, the remains of 14 enslaved people were reburied at St. Agnes Cemetery in Menands, not far from where their unmarked graves were discovered during a 2005 Town of Colonie construction project. Based on investigations, it was determined that the remains, six women, one man, two children and five infants, were roughly 200 years old. The burial ground was dated between the 18th and early 19th centuries and was part of an estate owned by the Schuyler family. In 2015, artists, woodworkers and students created burial containers for each set of remains. In June, the containers holding the remains laid in state at Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site in Albany as part of a celebration of their lives. The following day, the remains were reburied with great ceremony beside a tombstone that marks the site. “Here lies the remains of 14 souls known only to God. Enslaved in life, they are slaves no more.”
Quackenbush Building, 30 3rd Street, Troy
The rehabilitation of the Quackenbush Building in downtown Troy is the result of a partnership between Quackenbush Properties and the Tech Valley Center of Gravity, an innovative nonprofit entity that supports startup companies, spurs job creation, and encourages economic development. The Quackenbush Building was built in 1857, served as a dry goods store until 1937, and later housed local businesses until 2001. The $7.4 million rehabilitation project has rescued and transformed the vacant and deteriorated building into an innovative business development complex that has infused new life into this local landmark as well as the surrounding area.
Congressman Paul Tonko said, "New York’s rich history drives our economy, boosts jobs, and preserves previous generations of history lessons and vibrant culture for future ones to remember – and that is no more evident than in the Capital Region. I am proud to see Schuyler Flatts and the Quackenbush Building receive the recognition they deserve. I thank those involved for their tireless efforts to revitalize and renew our communities. In Congress, I will continue to work to ensure we continue to serve as good stewards to these areas."
Senator Neil Breslin said, "I congratulate all those involved from both the Schuyler Flatts Burial Ground in the Town of Colonie and the Quackenbush Building in the City of Troy for their hard work and commitment to revitalize their respective properties. Since 1980 the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has done an outstanding job of identifying projects across our entire state to preserve and restore. Historic preservation provides not only a link to our past but also helps build a bridge to our future as well."
Assemblyman John McDonald said, "Congratulations to Schuyler Flatts and the Quackenbush Building on receiving NYS Historic Preservation Awards. The rehabilitation of the Quackenbush Building is an example of another historic building in downtown Troy being revitalized which is critical in the continued resurgence of downtown Troy. I am proud to see life being brought back to our urban centers and this is a beneficial investment for our community. I applaud the work of Quackenbush Properties, Tech Valley Center of Gravity, and their partners in this effort to preserve our rich history for the creative reuse of this space that seamlessly blends the past with the future. Thank you to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for recognizing these projects and for providing the historic tax credits to help bring these projects to fruition."
Troy Mayor Patrick Madden said, "Efforts to restore historic properties like the Quackenbush Building in downtown Troy are critically important to preserving our city’s rich heritage and continued growth and economic prosperity across our community. Through public and private investment and assistance from the federal and NYS historic tax credit program, the Quackenbush Building and Tech Valley Center of Gravity has become a hi-tech hub for the next generation of entrepreneurs, innovators, and startup companies. I express my appreciation to Governor Cuomo, New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and our state, county and local partners for their commitment to strengthening communities and ongoing investment in our unique historical resources.”
Eastman Gardens, 800 East Main Street, Rochester
Originally built in 1917 by Eastman Kodak founder George Eastman, the former Eastman Dental Dispensary was the first school in the country to train dental hygienists. With the help of private investment and public funding, including preservation tax credits, the neglected institutional building has been repaired and updated for contemporary residential use. The more than $20 million project repaired the building’s exterior and adapted its interior, which includes 43 affordable apartment units and nine market rate units for seniors and physically handicapped persons. The complex offers quality housing in the center of the city, improving the lives of local residents and furthering local revitalization efforts. The project was additionally funded through a partnership with New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
James S. Rubin, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, said, "HCR is proud to receive recognition for this innovative development. The Eastman Dental Dispensary is an important part of Rochester’s history and integral to the identity of the Marketview Heights neighborhood. Eastman Gardens will provide safe, affordable housing for area seniors and the preservation of the building’s unique architecture will contribute to a more vibrant neighborhood. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, HCR will continue to invest in the adaptive reuse of vacant, historic buildings so that we can achieve the best results possible when it comes to providing quality affordable housing and revitalizing communities."
Wayne Goodman, Executive Director of the Landmark Society of Western New York, said, "The Eastman Dental Dispensary's rehabilitation is one of the most impressive preservation projects to ever take place in our region. What was only recently a building on our organization’s Five to Revive watch list is now a vibrant anchor for an entire neighborhood."
New York City
Hangars 1 and 2, Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn
For many years, Hangars 1 and 2 at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn sat vacant and in need of rehabilitation. Built in 1931, they were part of a series of hangars that served New York City’s first municipal airport, which was the starting point and terminus for many record-breaking continental and international flights. During World War II, the airfield became one of the most important U.S. Navy installations, transporting naval aircraft from regional assembly plants to the West Coast for deployment in the Pacific Theater. Through a partnership between the National Park Service and the Williams Companies, the hangars have been restored and adapted for use as a natural gas metering and regulating station as part of a regional pipeline project. Located in the Gateway National Recreation Area, the hangars are contributing properties in the Floyd Bennett Field Historic District.
Joshua R. Laird, Commissioner of the National Parks of New York Harbor, said, "The rehabilitation of Hangars 1 and 2 at Floyd Bennett Field is a project we can all be proud of. It is an excellent example of how private partnerships and leasing can be used to preserve some of our most significant buildings. The process was a partnership beginning with the legislation required to allow this project to move forward all the way through to the completion of the construction. In addition to thanking NY SHPO for this award, we would like to thank the William's team and the National Park Service staff for their collaborative efforts to ensure the preservation of this important building."
Old Croton Aqueduct Keeper’s House, Dobbs Ferry
Through a partnership among the State Parks, the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct, and Stephen Tilly, Architect—and with the help of public funding, private investment and hard working volunteers, the Old Croton Aqueduct Keeper’s House has been rehabilitated to serve visitors to the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park. Built in the 1850s as part of the Old Croton Aqueduct water supply system, the house is a rare surviving aqueduct overseer's residence along the aqueduct trail. The restored house interprets the system’s history, offers public rest rooms, and provides office space for state parks staff and the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct.
Linda Cooper, Regional Director for the Taconic Region of State Parks, said, "The Keeper’s House is a game changer for the Old Croton Aqueduct State Historic Park. This rehabilitated 1857 building has fabulous exhibits and is staffed on the weekends by volunteers from the community. It provides a perfect landing spot for visitors to take a break from their walk and learn more about the Aqueduct, a true engineering marvel of the 19th century. Having this space allows park staff to move out of a trailer into a permanent office. We urge everyone to stop by."
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