Technical Assistance Grants - 2014

In May the first of two grant rounds awarded $29,430 to 10 projects in 9 counties. The Fall grant cycle awarded $15,673 to six projects in as many counties. Each successful applicant is providing a $500 match.

The Technical Assistance Grant Program is a signature grant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Preservation League of New York State.


Earlville Opera House
Chenango County

The Earlville Opera House is one of the state’s important historic opera house rehabilitation success stories. Saved from demolition in the 1980s, today it offers an art gallery and restored performance space that attract participants from far beyond its small community. This 1892 three-story brick multi-use building boasts a proscenium stage, ornate stamped metal ceilings and decorative stenciling. Previous reports by architects support the group’s desire to provide an appropriate climate controlled environment for its patrons, thus enhancing year-round use. The study, to be completed by Taitem Engineering of Ithaca, will determine how to introduce new energy efficient HVAC systems into this landmark without compromising architectural integrity. The results are expected to serve as a model for other opera houses.

Shaker Museum
Mount Lebanon, Columbia County

This engineering assessment of the National Historic Landmark Brethren’s Workshop building at the Mount Lebanon Shaker Site is important to continued restoration of the building. The organization has large capital projects ahead of it and is working with a highly qualified engineering firm with extensive preservation experience. In 2013, the Preservation League provided an Endangered Properties Intervention loan to assist with cash flow as the organization undertook a series of preservation projects. The column failure was discovered last year and the organization’s Executive Director immediately reached out to the Preservation League for assistance.

Athens Cultural Arts Center
Greene County

The Athens Cultural Arts Center is located in an 1830’s commercial building in the heart of Athens, on the Hudson River. The center hosts a breadth of arts programming, from visual arts workshops, to dance, a community chorus, performing arts, and summer art workshops for children. The Athens Cultural Arts Center anchors this historic village and will receive funds to determine the most efficient HVAC system for their expansion into the 2nd floor space.

Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks
Raquette Lake, Hamilton County

Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks owns and operates the National Historic Landmark complex of 27 buildings at Great Camp Sagamore. Built by William West Durant and completed in 1897, Great Camp Sagamore served as the summer camp for the Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt family from 1901 to 1954. This TAG award will allow the Sagamore Institute to create a fire protection plan for the camp’s iconic Main Lodge.

GAR Memorial Hall
Portage, Livingston County

The Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall has been the most important meeting place in this rural township for over 133 years. However, this vernacular brick building has suffered from impacts of moisture infiltration. The town will complete a conditions study and receive recommendations for achieving accessibility from the selected consultant, Johnson-Schmidt and Associates, Architects of Corning. The result will help the town care for its National Register- listed landmark and increase its use by area cultural groups.

Livingston County Museum

The former District 5 School is the home of the Livingston County Museum, operated for nearly 100 years by the Livingston County Historical Society. Following recommendations of an historic structure report, the group is addressing issues of building care in phases. This rare 1838 cobblestone building is a contributing property in the Geneseo National Landmark Historic district. Given the museum’s growing visitation, there is a pressing need for universal accessibility. This project, to be completed by Bero Architecture of Rochester, will provide the institution with realistic accessibility options that respect architectural integrity.

Oswego West Pier Head Lighthouse
Oswego County

The 1934 lighthouse is the home of the H. Lee White Marine Museum which manages a permanent collection on behalf of the Port of Oswego Authority and presents the maritime history of the greater Oswego Valley region, the canal system and Lake Ontario. This remarkable collection includes a WW II Tugboat (LT-6, a National Historic Landmark), a 1927 NYS Derrick Boat 8 and a US commercial fishing boat. Exhibits feature paintings, ship models and ship building tools and the institution attracts over 30,000 visitors, especially in the summer. The lakeside location subjects the lighthouse to weather extremes causing wind and water damage. Crawford and Stearns, Architects and Preservation Planners of Syracuse, will assess the building’s condition and provide recommendations for repair and stewardship.

Arts Center of the Capital Region
Troy, Rensselaer County

The Arts Center of the Capital Region occupies almost 36,000 square feet of space in five adjoining historic buildings on Monument Square in downtown Central Troy. It serves as a community hub, as well as a robust cultural center with extensive course offerings. The Arts Center serves 48,000 people each year, drawing from an 11 county region surrounding Troy. This project would help bring life to the upper floors of the five buildings that comprise the center. They are working with Troy Architectural Program.

Town of Blenheim
Schoharie County

North Blenheim was devastated by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. The Schoharie Valley continues to recover from these storms and North Blenheim has seized the opportunity to inject new life into the village. The proposed adaptive use of the North Blenheim Presbyterian Church will bring renewed life to a gem on North Blenheim’s “Main Street.” Built in 1841, the church has sat vacant for at least 10 years, prior to the building’s 2013 town acquisition. The TAG program will fund an engineering assessment, as an important first step to the church’s rehabilitation and adaptive use.

Sodus Bay Lighthouse
Sodus Point, Wayne County

This striking 1870s limestone building with a keeper’s house seems hidden on a community side street but is highly visible from the water, having guided Lake Ontario commercial and pleasure crafts for about 100 years. The U.S. Department of the Interior transferred the lighthouse to the Town of Sodus in 1984 and, under a long-term lease, the Sodus Bay Historical Society has operated the museum for over 30 years. The museum collection reflects the maritime history of the once very busy Sodus Bay and attracts almost 25,000 visitors annually. Bero Architects of Rochester will prepare a conditions survey with special attention given to leaks in the lighthouse tower and areas of masonry deterioration.


Patrick Tavern
Aurora, Cayuga County

A grant of $3,000 toward the cost of a feasibility/reuse study of the historic Patrick Tavern, a rare timber frame structure with a king post roof framing system. Aurora, located on the east side of Cayuga Lake, was settled in 1789 and the Patrick Tavern may be its oldest building, possibly constructed in 1793. It was the young community’s main gathering place, a meeting point between Native and European American cultures, and is associated with lake shipping to the Erie Canal. Rehabilitation efforts aimed at reopening the building over the past 20 years have not been realized. The TAG award will allow the village to retain Bero Architecture and Jenson/BRV Engineering, both of Rochester, to examine structural, building code and design issues related to the village’s’ desire to use the Patrick Tavern for history-related exhibits and programs that would benefit of the community and the many tourists visiting this Finger Lakes village and its 1,000 building State and National Register historic district.

Luykas Van Alen House
Kinderhook, Columbia County

A grant of $3,500 toward the cost of a building condition survey of the circa 1737 Luykas Van Alen House, owned and operated by the Columbia County Historical Society since 1964. The Luykas Van Alen House is a National Historic Landmark and rare intact example of Dutch colonial architecture in the Hudson Valley. Lane Heritage Consulting will complete a building conditions survey, review recommendations from previous historic structure reports, and develop a conservation and maintenance plan for the site.

Buffalo Religious Arts Center
Buffalo, Erie County

A grant of $983 toward the cost of an accessibility study for the Buffalo Religious Arts Center (BRAC) a rare not-for-profit organization whose mission is “to collect and preserve fine art from the many houses of worship that have closed their doors in the Western New York area.” Located in Buffalo’s oldest neighborhood – Black Rock – and in the former St. Francis Xavier Church, BRAC’s collection includes examples of art, statuary, stained glass, and fine woodwork that reflect Buffalo’s many cultural groups and denominations. The building is also used for concerts and other public programs. The TAG award will allow BRAC to retain Flynn Battaglia Architects to study and recommend accessibility solutions to improve the museum’s restroom facility and thus allow greater use of the building, especially for tours and arts events.

Y-D House
Ticonderoga, Essex County

A grant of $3,000 for a building condition survey of the circa 1912 “Y-D House.” The Y-D (Yes Do) House is a 1,230 square foot, two-story log cabin built as a playhouse by Fort Ticonderoga Museum founders Stephen and Sarah Pell for their sons, Robert and John Pell. The Y-D House was built in the Great Camp style of architecture and was long hidden from visitors to the fort by dense vegetation that had grown around the building. Fort Ticonderoga is an independent non-profit educational institution with buildings reflecting its 18th, 19th, and 20th century history. This National Historic Landmark preserves its 27 historic structures and 2,000 acre historic landscape, drawing over 70,000 people annually. John G. Waite Associates, Architects will complete the building condition survey.

Nellis Tavern
St. Johnsville, Montgomery County

A grant of $3,500 toward the cost of completing a specialized conservation study of the early 19th century decorative stencils in five rooms of the Nellis Tavern. The Nellis Tavern, a circa 1747 farmhouse expanded in 1815 to accommodate a tavern, store, and upstairs guest room, has been owned by the Palatine Settlement Society since 1985. When the Palatine Settlement Society purchased the Nellis Tavern in 1985, the structure had been condemned and was saved from demolition thanks to the historic stenciling discovered in the building’s 1815 tavern wing. After almost 20 years of careful building stabilization and exterior restoration, the Palatine Settlement Society is commissioning this study for careful evaluation of the composition and condition of the plaster walls and remaining painted stencils. Architectural conservator Brian Powell, working for Building Conservation Associates, will complete the stencil assessment.

Pioneer Building
Lockport, Niagara County

A grant of $2,700 toward the cost of completing a building condition survey of the c.1900 Pioneer Building, one of seven buildings n three sites operated by the society. The Pioneer Building is part of the heavily used building complex at the Niagara Historical Society’s main campus and displays materials related to Native American cultures and stores a textile collection. The brick and clapboard structure, originally a carriage house, suffers from moisture damage that threatens its collections. Bero Architecture of Rochester will complete the survey and recommend treatment plans to repair damaged surfaces now that the building’s roof has been repaired.

GrantsPLNYS StaffTAG