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National Register helps village of Springville grow


A recent letter in the Springville Journal questioned the value of National Register Historic of Historic Places designation for building owners.

As an introduction, it has been a pleasure for my firm to have been working with everyone in the village of Springville since 2003, on improvement projects and historic preservation initiatives. Full disclosure: We are the grant writer and administrator for the Village NY Main program, and we have worked with many village leaders to help raise more than $1 million for village projects.

National Register Historic designation enhances community pride and property values, allows building code, property tax and other incentives for investing in designated properties and makes available historic tax credits and other financial incentives to owners who want them.

There is no new regulation on property owners, and there is no downside to National Register designation. In fact, it is this designation that has attracted more than $1 million of funding to the village for facade improvement and other projects. For instance, Seth Wochensky’s pioneering Arts Center project would not be possible without this designation and these incentives.

To quote the National Park Service about listing and ownership:

­– National Register listing places no obligations on private property owners. There are no restrictions on the use, treatment, transfer or disposition of private property.

– National Register listing does not lead to public acquisition or require public access.

– A property will not be listed if, for individual properties, the owner objects, or for districts, a majority of property owners object.

– National Register listing does not automatically invoke local historic district zoning or local landmark designation.

This designation is the key for historic homeowners to access a state income tax credit of 20 percent of the costs of improving their homes and for commercial property owners a tax credit of 40 percent of their costs.

I would be glad to talk with anyone who has any questions or comments about National Register designation, at 852-2020. No doubt the village will host a public meeting, when the time is right, that will clear up any misconceptions.

Rest assured that elected and civic officials are wise to pursue National Register designation because it will assist many more of Springville’s property owners who choose to re-invest in their properties, will more greatly enhance Springville’s image as a thriving historic place to visit and will help even more property owners retain their property’s value.

So many positive leaders have been working together to benefit the residents of the village of Springville, and it is working. In fact, state agencies recently visited Springville, because it is a model for attracting fresh ideas and fresh investment in a heritage place.

In my view as an expert and a homeowner in a National Register Historic District, National Register listing will build on this success to date and the best is yet to come.

Clinton Brown, FAIA


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