2017
two thousand seventeen
Twenty-Seventeen
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        A week or so  ago an article on the front page of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle caught my eye. It was the first installment in a series entitled ROC Roots: Exploring Our Past, Inspiring Our Present. It brought together two of my greatest passions: preservation and economic development. The  thrust of the article was the importance of Preservation both in local history and in current economic initiatives.  

I couldn’t agree more. These historic homes, commercial and  manufacturing buildings,  churches and structures tell our story. The importance of these buildings on both levels, historic and economic, has been recognized by  Governor Cuomo’s Path Through History initiative (more on that another time )  and by New York State and the federal government by the creation , and new extension, of residential and historic tax credits. Last year construction, taking advantage of these tax credits valued at more than one billion dollars took place in our state. The really good news is that it isn’t just for major industry. It is for homeowners too. I am told that the average project for tax credit for the residential tax credit is $25,000.  A good way to learn more about the tax credits is through the Landmark Society of Western New York, which will hold its annual conference in Brockport on Saturday, April 20, 2013. The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, is another excellent source for information.
  This is all highly relevant to the residents within the 500+ miles of the Canal Corridor. The economic impact of the canals is visible in the number and variety of magnificent buildings built in that era. Today, the beautiful 19th century homes are bringing young families seeking a different quality of life into our towns and villages. Buildings are being re-purposed, not razed, to have new lives as offices and businesses. In Palmyra,  my home town, within the last year or so the former corporate headquarters of Garlock Sealing Technologies became the Palmyra Community Library. The library’s former home, a mid 19th century Italianate private home was re-purposed as handsome offices. Both projects are a credit to their owners and asset for the community. That’s great, but what is even better is the fact that the vintage buildings are being viewed differently, across the entire length of the canal. They are unique assets to be admired, saved and used. You cannot beat good 19th century architecture. So, congratulations, Rochester, for seeing what you have and valuing it and congratulations, too, to the other 200+ cities, towns and villages which have similar wonderful architecture. Use it well.

An email from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor a great source of information, brought word of an article in the current issue of American History Magazine  will take you to an account of a visitor’s travels along the canal  - my third passion.

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