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Property of History

Registers include local buildings

July 4, 2010
By RODNEY MINOR, The Leader-Herald

A couple of local properties recently were recommended for inclusion on the state and national Registers of Historic Places.

If both properties are added to registers, they will join a fairly large group of properties in Fulton and Montgomery counties.

Barbara Madonna, the director the Gloversville Public Library, which is listed on the registers, said being on the lists brings in visitors the library would not get otherwise. She said the library's place on the registers also seems to have an effect on people that have left the area and come back to visit.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor

The New York Army National Guard Armory is shown Thursday in Gloversville. The building is on the state and national Registers of Historic Places.

"People often come back and say, 'This is on the national register.'" she said. She noted it makes people appreciate the significance of the library more.

According to the website for the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation - nysparks.state.ny.us/shpo/national-register/ - the state and national Registers of Historic Places are "the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture of New York and the nation."

The same eligibility criteria are used for both registers. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the New York State Historic Preservation Act of 1980 established the national and state registers programs, the website said. In New York state, the commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, who also is the State Historic Preservation officer, administers the programs, the website said.

Dan Keefe, a spokesman for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said properties tend to be nominated by their owners or local history groups. When the proper research documentation is done, the state Board of Historic Preservation must give its approval for the property to be included on the registers.

Keefe noted that while the board can choose not to recommend properties be included on the registers, because the basis for inclusion is well known that does not happen too often.

The criteria for being placed on the registers is broad. It includes properties that have had significance in American history, architecture and engineering among other criteria, the website said.

Advantages

Keefe said there are at least four advantages to having a property placed on the state and national registers.

Obviously, it demonstrates the property is significant historically, he said.

As the website notes, "The registers are actively used by individuals, organizations, and all levels of government to promote planning, economic development, tourism, education, and an increased appreciation of our heritage."

Keefe said nonprofit or government property also is eligible for state historic preservation grants.

Property that is privately owned also may be eligible for a variety of state and federal rehabilitation tax credits, he said.

As an example, according to the website, "The Farmer's Protection and Farm Preservation Act allows for an income tax credit equal to 25 percent of the cost of rehabilitating historic barns. The barn must be income producing, in non-residential use, placed in service before 1936, and work must not materially alter the historic appearance of the structure."

Keefe said if state or federal projects would affect the property, alternatives to the project will be considered.

Madonna said while the library has not applied for any grants specifically because of its status on the registers, she said she does think that status makes the grant process in general easier. All of the information is readily available that is needed, she said.

Keefe said private property owners, in general, are not restricted in what they do with the property. He said there may be restrictions in local codes property owners have to contend with, or in specific grants or loans.

According to the state website, "There are no restrictions placed on private owners of registered properties. Private property owners may sell, alter or dispose of their property as they wish, although an owner who demolishes a certified registered property may not deduct the costs of demolition from his/her federal income tax."

The two properties in Montgomery County being considered for inclusion on the list are the Caspar Getman Farmstead in Stone Arabia and the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library in St. Johnsville.

The farmstead is "a significant and highly intact example of family farm buildings from the late 18th- to mid 19th- century, operated by descendants of the Palatine Germans who settled the Region.

The library is a "1909 Beaux Arts library and museum donated to the village by local textile manufacturer Joseph Reaney" and "is an excellent example of civic architecture."

Keefe said it will take about 45 days for a decision on the properties inclusion on the registers to be made.

 
 

 

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