Adirondack Architectural Heritage to distribute $750k in rural revitalization funds
By Holly Riddle
In mid-2022, the National Park Service awarded AARCH a Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grant totaling $750,000. This summer, Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) plans to distribute those funds to worthy revitalization projects throughout the region.
AARCH executive director Erin Tobin explained that, in creating its Adirondack Rural Revitalization Program (ARRP) subgrant program, AARCH strived to expand eligibility as much as possible. Applicants must show their buildings are listed on, or eligible to be listed on, the National Register of Historic Places. Applicants must also own their building and either currently have or create a public use for the space.
“It could be a small retail business, an art center, a community space,” Tobin said. “Let’s say there’s a vacant church that’s owned by a municipality and they want to create an art center or community gathering space, but they need to do some work on the building. Maybe they need a new roof; maybe they need to fix the windows; maybe they need a new electrical system. They could apply to us for funding towards that project,” she added.
Full application guidelines are listed on the AARCH website. AARCH is hosting two virtual informational sessions for interested applicants, June 5, 12:30–1:30 p.m., and July 10, 4–5 p.m. These sessions will also provide information on how applicants can become eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. Applications close Aug. 11. Awards will be made in sums of up to $100,000, but applicants must contribute at least 25% of their total project cost. All grant funds must be allocated by 2025.
The overall goal: Rural revitalization. “It’s really all about taking the buildings in our hamlets that are either vacant or underused and bringing more life into them, to draw people into the community… It’s all about creating and fostering community and supporting the people who want to invest in their buildings,” Tobin said.
The Adirondack Council provided a support letter to strengthen AARCH’s grant application.
“We are very interested in helping communities identify the unique things that help keep them sustainable, and historic architecture is something that can not only enhance a community’s reputation as a tourism destination, but its long-term viability by providing a permanent attraction that otherwise would probably fall apart over time,” said John Sheehan, the council’s director of communications.
Another supporter was Daniel Mackay, deputy commissioner for Historic Preservation at the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation.
“The Adirondack region is internationally recognized for its outstanding beauty and its rich history has played a significant role in attracting visitors from around the world for generations. Preservation tools, such as the AARCH program, are essential for preserving this history and vital for our property stewards who go to great lengths to revitalize landmarks, which serve as destinations and community anchors,” Mackay said.
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