Two Nonprofits, One Municipality Receive Funding

ALBANY, NY – 12/9/13 – The Preservation League of New York State will make three grants totaling nearly $20,000 to Montgomery County organizations at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 10, at Twilight Gardens Bistro, 64 Church Street, Canajoharie.

Mohawk Valley Collective in Fort Plain will receive a $10,000 Preserve New York grant to support the cost of a Historic Structure report. Now known as Unity Hall, the former First Universalist Church in Fort Plain is a late 19th-century building that has stood vacant for 20 years, yet remains in relatively good condition with an intact interior. The sanctuary is on the upper level of the church, with a sloped floor, pocket doors, organ, and monumental Arts and Crafts stained glass windows.

The report, to be prepared by Syracuse preservation architecture firm Crawford & Stearns, will complement ongoing planning and fundraising for Unity Hall’s restoration and rehabilitation.

“We appreciate the League’s willingness to not only identify worthy projects, but to help nurture them over time. Support from the League will allow us to complete the groundwork for what will ultimately be a much larger capital campaign for building restoration at Unity Hall,” said Tolga Morawski, founder and treasurer of the Mohawk Valley Collective.

Morwaski continued, “The trio of grants being awarded by the League today and other recent grants to sites in Montgomery County, including Diefendorf Hall in Fort Plain, reflect the quality and diversity of historic buildings across the area. We thank them for recognizing both the immense potential the area has to offer and the helping to raise awareness of the small communities and tourist attractions in the region.”

“We are excited about this grant as an important part of our group’s efforts to preserve and bring back to life beautiful  structures such as Unity Hall, and to continue our  mission of stimulating regional economic growth through historic preservation and tourism,” said John McGlone, a member of the Board of Directors of the Montgomery County Historical Society. “We are especially grateful to the Preservation League, our volunteers, and the local community leaders for their support.”

The Village of Canajoharie will receive a $7,000 Preserve New York grant to complete a Historic Resources Survey. This Erie Canal community is ripe for revitalization, with the recreational Canalway trail running through it, a largely intact downtown and surrounding residential neighborhoods. In addition to a rich industrial heritage, the community has links to the abolitionist and women’s rights movements of the 19th century.

A survey of the Village could lead to the designation of a National Register historic district, which would open the door to financial incentives, including tax credits, for historic building rehabilitation and economic development. Preservation consultant Jessie Ravage will complete the survey.

“The Village of Canajoharie has been interested in historic preservation for 20 years,” said village Mayor Francis Avery. “We were never able to complete a cultural resource survey and are thrilled we now can. This is another step towards the revitalization of our community.”

The Montgomery County Historical Society will receive a Technical Assistance Grant of $2,900 for a Building Condition Survey of Old Fort Johnson. Old Fort Johnson was severely damaged in the 2011 flooding resulting from tropical storms Irene and Lee. When the water subsided, the organization followed model preservation practices and saved a great deal of historic building material.

An exterior building assessment is the first of a two-part conditions assessment to guide the society’s strategic planning. Preservation architect Rob Petito, who has a great deal of experience working with historic buildings, will complete the survey.

“The Montgomery County Historical Society at Old Fort Johnson is pleased to receive a TAG grant from the Preservation League of New York State,” said Alessa Wylie, the museum’s director. “The focus of the restoration work after the flooding was the interior which was meticulously restored. However, no close examination of the exterior of the building has been done since 1998. This grant will allow the Historical Society to begin to assess the current condition of the building and to prioritize any necessary work. We are looking forward to taking this next step in the preservation of this treasured 1749 National Historic Landmark.”

The Preservation League of New York State has two grant-in-aid programs that foster the conservation, protection and use of the Empire State’s cultural resources. Both are the result of a partnership between the Preservation League and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

The League launched the Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) program in 2012 to support discrete projects that preserve New York State’s cultural and historic resources. Grants of up to $3,000 are available to not-for-profit arts and cultural groups and municipalities managing historic sites, museums, arts facilities and other culturally important institutions that are located in historic buildings and structures open to the public.

The second of two Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) rounds in 2013 awarded $11,553 to four projects in as many counties. Each grant recipient provided a $500 match. The four grants awarded in October join 13 made in May. The second year of TAG resulted in 17 projects receiving a total of $45,103 in support.

The following projects received TAG support in the second funding round of 2013: Cayuga County: Cayuga County Arts Council; Lewis County: Town of Osceola, Osceola Public Library, and Osceola Historical Society; Montgomery County: Montgomery County Historical Society, Fort Johnson; Tioga County: Berkshire Free Library Association.

“With the announcement of the 2013 awards, the total support provided by Preserve New York since its launch in 1993 is over $1.8 million to 292 projects statewide,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. “Preserve New York has a strong track record of bolstering local preservation efforts and delivering a strong return on investment.”

“At its August, 2013 meeting, the Preserve New York grant program panel selected 13 applicants in nine counties around the state to share $100,000 in funding,” said Erin Tobin, the League’s Regional Director of Technical and Grant Programs in eastern New York. “As always, the competition for these funds was intense. The Preservation League is delighted to help advance the preservation efforts of these Montgomery County organizations with timely funding from our signature grant programs.”

Organizations and municipalities receiving grant awards in 2013 are: Albany County: Historic Albany Foundation; Erie County (2): Old First Ward Community Association, Buffalo; Preservation Buffalo Niagara, Buffalo; Kings County: Historic Districts Council, New York City; Ontario County (2): 1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse; Geneva Business Improvement District; Monroe County: Landmark Society of Western New York, Rochester; Montgomery County (2): Village of Canajoharie; Mohawk Valley Collective; Niagara County: City of Lockport; Schenectady County: Vale Cemetery Preservation, Inc.; Sullivan County (2): Beaverkill Neighbors Association; Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

For more information on the Preserve New York Grant Program, please call 518-462-5658 or visit the League’s website at <> .

Mohawk Valley Collective, Inc. is recognized as a not-for-profit corporation under section 501c(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations are deductible to the extent permitted by law.

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