Technical Assistance Grants - 2018

In 2018, we awarded $55,068 to 19 projects in 17 counties through the Technical Assistance Grant program, a partnership between the League and New York State Council on the Arts. The successful applicants are all providing a $500 match toward the cost of their projects. With this announcement, support provided by the TAG program since its launch in 2012 totals $332,465 to 118 projects in 44 counties across New York State.

Albany County

Rensselaerville Library - $3,000
Engineering/Structural Analysis

Dating from 1798, the Rensselaerville Library was the first library in Albany County, originally keeping its 200 books in various parts of town, wherever space could be found. The presently situated Rensselaerville Library was organized in 1896 as a “Reading Room” in the row house on Main Street, a building that was once the boot shop of William Felter. In 1995, the library doubled its space by acquiring the adjacent property. The Preservation League awarded the library a $9,104 Preserve New York grant in 2017 for a building condition report. This report enabled the library to understand various condition issues plaguing the historic space and begin to craft a plan for remediation. At the time, consultants determined that the area around the circulation desk required some additional engineering investigation before proceeding with repair work. With this $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant the Rensselaerville Library will hire Delaware Engineering of Albany to complete an engineering/structural analysis of that interior space. This will be an important additional step in making necessary repairs to the library building, so that the community can enjoy it for years to come.

Allegany County

Town of Angelica - $3,000
Specialized Conservation Study

The Angelica Grange Hall was the second site of the Angelica Presbyterian Church and was built in 1856. As church membership dwindled into the early 20th century, the building was sold to the local grange in the 1930s and used for social events and other gatherings. In the early 2000s, the Town of Angelica purchased the building from the grange to use it for community events. Despite condition studies and improvements made to the building over time, a persistent issue of noise reverberation inside the main room consistently deters public usage of the space. Concerts, community meetings and other events are not enjoyable to the public because of the loud echoes that occur inside and as a result, a historic space with much potential remains unused for much of the year. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Town of Angelica to hire Johnson-Schmidt Associates of Corning to conduct a specialized conservation study of the grange hall. This study will determine the best way to apply interior noise-reduction treatments without compromising the historic interior finishes of the building. The town would ultimately like to use this space as an arts and cultural destination for surrounding rural areas and this project is seen as an important first step.

Broome County

Roberson Museum and Science Center - $3,000
Building Condition Survey

The Roberson Museum and Science Center was created as a cultural center in 1954 and is the only museum in the Binghamton area accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The most significant piece in the Roberson collection is the Roberson Mansion, one of the finest examples of early 20th-century architecture in the Southern Tier. Local architect, C. Edward Vosbury, designed the building in 1904 in the Italian Renaissance Revival style and Pottier & Stymus furnished the interior of the mansion. Guided tours of the building are available as well as other educational programs that focus on the history of the building. Currently, extreme water infiltration threatens the mansion. Recent rainfalls have left the basement level of the flooded with water and there are concerns that the foundation will collapse if water continues to wear away the mortar between the stacked stones. Water has also infiltrated other areas of the museum where important collections objects are stored, thus putting the artifacts as well as the building at risk. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Roberson Museum and Science Center to hire Chianis & Anderson Architects of Binghamton to complete a full condition assessment of the areas plagued by water infiltration. The museum recognizes that it is imperative to determine the root cause of the water infiltration before proceeding with repairs.

Columbia County

Hendrick Hudson Chapter NSDAR, Inc. - $2,776.50
Specialized Conservation Study

Constructed in 1811, the Robert Jenkins House has served as the Hendrick Hudson Chapter of the DAR’s headquarters since 1900. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and an excellent example of Federal style architecture, the home’s significance to the City of Hudson is as the home of Robert Jenkins, the 3rd and 5th mayor of the city. The Henrick Hudson Chapter uses the house as a museum, library, and repository for artifacts relating to their chapter. A late 2016 focused engineering evaluation examined a specific section of the house and recommended a larger condition analysis. The Hendrick Hudson Chapter NSDAR has since formed a “Save the House Committee” tasked with maintaining and stewarding the building. A $2,776.50 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the group to hire Marilyn Kaplan of Albany to complete a building condition survey of the Robert Jenkins House. The chapter wants to have a complete and thorough understanding of the structure’s condition before proceeding with repairs and a maintenance plan. This report will allow the group to begin fundraising for necessary capital improvements.

Dutchess County

Akin Hall Association - $3,000
Building Condition Survey

The Akin Hall Association built a small public library between 1898 and 1908 on Quaker Hill in Pawling that is actively used today as a free library, research center, and museum while hosting other events. The building is a unique mix of Late Victorian and Moorish architectural styles and was designed by J.A. Wood, who also designed other notable buildings in the Hudson Valley, the Catskills, and New York City. The library has a three-faced clock on the outside that sits atop a copper cupola, and many large, character-defining double-hung windows. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Akin Hall Association to hire Mesick Cohen Wilson Baker Architects of Albany and Spring Line Design of Troy to do a specific assessment on the cupola and clock tower. While the Association has done various other assessment projects around the building, the tower has never been thoroughly studied. Completing this type of report will help the Akin Hall Association plan for future repairs and more fully assess the health of the entire building.

Town of Clinton Historical Society - $3,000
Feasibility/Reuse Study

The Town of Clinton Historical Society preserves, educates and encourages an appreciation for the Town of Clinton and its historic sites and structures. The historical society also preserves and restores the Creek Meeting House, a fieldstone building constructed in 1777 by the Society of Friends (Quakers) fleeing the revolutionary war. In the early 20th century, the Upton Lake Grange acquired the building and made some changes to the interior, but the meeting house remains significant for its stone masonry construction and its lack of exterior changes. The historical society uses the building for exhibits, lectures, programs and events and wishes to gain a deeper understanding of the space as well as some of its mechanical systems. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Town of Clinton Historical Society to hire Walter Sedovic Architects of Irvington to complete a feasibility study of the Creek Meeting House. This report will lay the groundwork for recommendations regarding the building structure, mechanical systems, interior layout and volume, energy efficiency, and adaptive reuse. The historical society’s goal is to improve public access to the building while preserving its significant historic fabric.

Genesee County

Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council - $3,000
Building Condition Survey

The Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council is headquartered in the historic Seymour Place building in Batavia, built in 1831 by Hezekiah Eldredge as the Bank of Genesee. Seymour Place is the only remaining example of an early 19th-century business establishment in Genesee County. After the bank closed, the Batavia Club, a private men’s social club, began using the building in 1886 and occupied the space until the club closed in 2000. In 2002, the Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council (or GO ART!) was gifted the building by the Batavia Club Bondholders. The building is currently used for exhibits, meetings, workshops, small performances, and lectures. An initial condition survey was completed in 1994, but since that time additional condition issues have arisen that the council’s administrators wish to mitigate. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable GO ART! to hire Bero Architecture of Rochester to complete an updated building condition survey of Seymour Place. This report will help administrators prioritize maintenance and repairs to the building so they can continue to use it for community arts purposes.

Lewis County

Constable Hall Association, Inc. - $3,000
Building Condition Survey

Constable Hall is a historic house museum and estate and was constructed between 1810 and 1819 by William Constable. The estate spans twenty-two acres and includes the mansion, a carriage house, servant’s quarters, an 18th century formal garden, and a pond. The site is open as a museum during the summer months and staff offer guided tours of the property as well as programs and additional events that highlight the story of the Constable family. The Constable Hall Association board and staff have completed a great deal of preservation work at the site in the past several years, including obtaining a grant to rebuild the mansion’s two chimneys and repair the roof flashings. Despite this work, the mansion is still plagued by moisture issues that are causing wood rot, water stains, peeling paint and wallpaper damage in certain areas of the building. The staff and board seek to identify the root causes of these moisture issues so they can plan to mitigate properly. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable Constable Hall Association to hire Crawford & Stearns of Syracuse to conduct a building condition survey that focuses on these moisture issues. This report will be an important first step in correcting these problems and moving ahead with preservation and maintenance.

Nassau County

Garden City Historical Society - $3,000
Building Condition Survey

The Garden City Historical Society headquarters, known as the “Apostle House,” was built in 1872 and later donated to the society by the Episcopal Archdiocese. This building is an example of one of 37 buildings designed by A.T. Stewart, an entrepreneur responsible for constructing Garden City, one of the first planned communities in the nation, between 1871 and 1893. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and used for exhibits, programs, and other special historical society events. The Garden City Historical Society worked to restore various sections of the space for many years. They have successfully renovated the first floor, basement space, and other interior areas so they could open the building as a museum. The society now looks towards restoration of the structure’s exterior. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Garden City Historical Society to hire Paige Ayres Cowley Architecture of New York City to complete an exterior building condition survey. This project will help the Garden City Historical Society prioritize repairs to the Apostle House.

Orange County

Town of Warwick Historical Society - $3,000
Building Condition Survey

Azariah Ketchum built the Old School Meeting House in 1810 for $7,000. It was used as a church for many years until the building fell into extreme disrepair and threatened with demolition for a parking lot. In 1949, members of the community approached remaining members of the congregation and purchased the property with the stipulation that the building be open to the public for future generations. Now the Town of Warwick Historical Society uses this building for weddings, plays, concerts, lectures, exhibits, memorial services, baptisms and the Village’s widely attended Christmas Eve service. The building occupies a prominent spot in the center of town and is loved by many residents. Condition issues have begun to accumulate in the meeting house, and the historical society has turned their attention to fundraising and preservation planning. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Town of Warwick Historical Society to hire Stephen Tilly Architects of Dobbs Ferry to complete a building condition survey of the meeting house. This study will inform future decisions and repairs.

Saratoga County

Town of Corinth - $3,000
Building Condition Survey

The International Paper Company building was completed in 1905 at its then largest and most productive plant, the Hudson River Mill, to serve as the company’s principal office. The top floor was a designated office space with a director’s room and fireplace, and the bottom floor housed the time office and was used by employees to enter and exit the mill, punch their daily time cards, and receive their pay. The building was also the “public face” of the mill and served as a principal point of access for its employees. The Hudson River Mill no longer exists, therefore making the office building even more important to the built and industrial history of the Town of Corinth. The office building was gifted to the town in 2012 and is the only building in town listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Town is currently working with a group called the Hudson River Mill Museum, who have recently obtained nonprofit status and are working to turn the paper company office building into a museum and exhibition space. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Town or Corinth to hire Marilyn Kaplan of Albany to complete a building condition survey of the structure. The condition of the structure must be fully understood before conversion of the space to a museum facility can occur.

Schoharie County

Jefferson Historical Society - $3,000
Handicapped Accessibility Study

The Masonic Hall in Jefferson was built by the local Masons between 1865 and 1866. Lodge members did not always own the building, but they always had access to the upper floors for their ceremonies and business. The building was also used as a residence, the Jefferson Town Court, and judges’ chambers. In 2017, the few remaining members of Working Lodge 554 joined their brothers at a nearby lodge in Cobleskill and sold the building to the Jefferson Historical Society. The building is part of a potential historic district identified with the help of a 2017 Preserve New York grant, and the Jefferson Historical Society wanted to protect the building’s historic character and contribution to the hamlet’s streetscape. The historical society recognizes the importance of handicapped accessibility so that the entire community can access the building for lectures, temporary exhibits, meetings, and events in conjunction with the Jefferson Central School. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the historical society to hire Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson of Albany to conduct a handicapped accessibility study of the Masonic Hall. This study will outline a plan to make the building fully ADA compliant while still maintaining its historic integrity and appearance.

St. Lawrence County

Town of Fine - $1,615
Building Condition Survey

The Fine Town Hall is a large, two story Victorian building that was constructed in 1884 as a place to conduct public meetings, municipal business, and to house public entertainment. Over the years, the town hall building served as a polling place, post office, jail, restaurant, barber shop and concert hall. The building also served as a lookout post for the New York State Air Control Network in the 1950s and meeting space for the Fine Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary as well as the Fine Chapter of the New York State Federation of Home Bureaus. The town hall is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places and is deeply loved by those in the community who recognize its importance to the history of their hometown. A committee of individuals interested in saving and preserving the building has formed and has identified several important preservation needs including maintaining the exterior envelope and creating a comfortable and usable interior. A $1,615 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Town of Fine to hire GYMO of Watertown to conduct a building condition survey with special attention paid to lead-based paint and asbestos issues in the building. The committee recognizes that these potentially hazardous preservation issues must first be mitigated before the building can be fully open to the public.

Sullivan County

Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop - $3,000
Building Condition Survey

The Rivoli Theatre in South Fallsburg was built in 1923 and has served the surrounding community as an anchor for the performing arts. First, the building was used as a movie theater and later as a venue for live performances. The Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop, a nonprofit theater group, has utilized this space for many years and hosts an impressive array of live shows and performances that draw in visitors and volunteers from all over Sullivan County. While the Dramatic Workshop does its best to maintain and preserve the building, issues with the roof have made administrators realize that a professional assessment is necessary. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop to hire Stephen Tilly Architects of Dobbs Ferry to complete a building condition survey of the roof. By determining what issues the roof has and how to properly correct them, the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop can move forward in preserving and maintaining the theatre so it can continue to be used for performances and events.

Tioga County

Richford Historical Society - $3,000
Building Condition Survey

The Richford Graded School was built in 1869 to replace the original log cabin schoolhouse and was used for educational purposes until 1955. In the late 1950s and 1960s the building was used by various fraternal organizations for their meetings until eventually, the school building was transferred to the local fire district to use for their fire suppression trainings. In 1985, the fire district donated the building to the town of Richford to be used for community purposes, and the Richford Historical Society found its permanent home there in 1992. Historical society members as well as Lockheed Martin Corporation volunteers worked tirelessly to remediate years of water, soot and smoke damage. Despite some setbacks in community and volunteer support over the years, finally in 2017 the group completed the exterior repainting of the school building. At this time, a $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the historical society to hire Crawford & Stearns of Syracuse to develop a building condition survey of the school building. This report will serve as the catalyst for creating a preservation plan so that historical society members can continue restoring and preserving the building. The school building is deeply loved by the community and serves as a public space for community arts gatherings.

Ulster County

Kingston Library - $3,000
Building Condition Survey

The Kingston Library building was originally designed and constructed as a school in 1878. The facility was used as a school until the 1970s, when it was renovated and converted for public library use. The building is a fixture in the downtown Kingston community and serves as a hub for educational and cultural public events. The library board is currently engaged in a project to create a master site plan for the library building, and has therefore identified several important preservation needs, including updating the HVAC systems. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Kingston Library to hire Sage Engineering of Ballston Spa to conduct a building condition survey with special regard to the mechanical systems in the building. The report will serve as a guiding document to updating the important systems that make the library building a comfortable space to read, learn, work, or participate in a community gathering.

Washington County

Village of Cambridge - $3,000
Feasibility/Reuse Study

The Village of Cambridge owns and operates the Cambridge Public Library as an important community resource. The public library building was originally constructed in 1903 and expanded in the 1980s to make way for growing technology concerns and increased patronage – the addition was created to make space for computer workstations in the library building. Unfortunately, only this newer 1980s addition is fully handicapped accessible which means that not all patrons have safe and comfortable access to all areas of the library. As library administrators continue to look toward the future, they recognize that some study and evaluation of these concerns is necessary. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Village of Cambridge to hire Lacey Thaler Reilly Wilson Architects of Albany to complete a feasibility study of the library building. This study will examine the relationship between the original building and its addition and make recommendations for reprogramming or expansion of certain spaces, therefore allowing for greater accessibility and the accommodation of growing library attendance and usage.

Westchester County

Town of Somers - $3,000
Building Condition Survey

The Elephant Hotel building, now used as the Somers Town Hall, was constructed between 1820 and 1825 as a memorial to an elephant named “Old Bet” that made the town known as the “cradle of American circus history.” The Elephant Hotel is an impressive and elegant Federal style building that holds the town hall on the first two floors and the Somers Historical Society on the third floor, which includes the Museum of the Early American Circus and the Alice Minnerly Runyon Reference Library. Patrons can visit the building to conduct municipal business as well as view exhibits that change on a rotating basis. The building was designated as a National Historic Landmark and occupies an extremely prominent location at the intersection of Routes 202 and 100. In 2016, the town’s comprehensive plan identified the need to preserve and enhance historic and cultural resources to engage with the community and celebrate the history of Somers. The town recognizes the extreme importance of the Elephant Hotel to the surrounding area and therefore wishes to continue preserving and maintaining the structure. A $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the Town of Somers to hire Stephen Tilly Architects of Dobbs Ferry to conduct a building condition survey of the Elephant Hotel. This report will illuminate any condition issues that could become potentially problematic in the future so that town administrators can make plans to correct them in the future.

Westchester County

International Percy Grainger Society - $2,676.50
Building Condition Survey

The International Percy Grainger Society is an organization tasked with maintaining the furnishings, personal items and work of Percy Grainger. Grainger was an internationally renowned pianist and composer who resided in the house at 7 Cromwell Place in White Plains from 1921 to 1961. The building was built in 1893 by David Cromwell, a prominent White Plains Citizen, and is an intact example of a late 19th century American Four-Square style home. The building is furnished as it was when Grainger resided there and is open to the public for special guided tours and other programs focused on musical history. The board and staff of the society have recently completed a strategic plan that identified the necessity of addressing the immediate needs of the building, including the installation of a new HVAC system. With the installation of this new system, concerns about energy efficiency have also arisen, thereby necessitating the need for additional study. A $2,676.50 Technical Assistance Grant will enable the International Percy Grainger Society to hire Kamen Tall Architects of Ossining to conduct a building condition survey that specifically addresses the original historic windows in the house. The society is interested in preserving the historic integrity of the windows but wants to address condition issues so the building remains energy efficient.