The American Institute of Architects New York State (AIANYS) has named Senator David Valesky as its “2009 Legislator of the Year.” The award recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing the legislative priorities of AIANYS. Senator Valesky is receiving the award for his sponsorship of the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, which was recently signed into law. The award was presented at the AIA Central New York Celebration of Architecture on November 7, 2009 at Syracuse University.
In announcing the award, Edward C. Farrell, Executive Director of AIANYS noted, “Senator Valesky has demonstrated proven leadership in securing the enactment of this critical legislation, which was a top priority of AIA New York State. The rehabilitation of existing historic properties is in line with AIA’s strategy for sustainable design and construction. We commend him for his dedication and are honored to present him with this award.”
“It’s an honor to be recognized with this award from the American Institute of Architects of New York State,” said Senator Valesky. “I applaud their efforts to encourage economic redevelopment adaptive re-use and look forward to continuing to work together with them on other important issues.”
The new law provides tax credits for the redevelopment of qualified residential and commercial properties in distressed communities. There is currently a large inventory of vacant, underutilized and deteriorating historic properties, many of which are located in upstate urban areas. These properties are a significant asset across upstate New York, and their redevelopment holds they key to attracting new investment, new businesses and new residents. Specifically, the legislation increases the tax credit from $100,000 to $5 million for commercial projects, and from $25,000 to $50,000 for residential projects.
Julia Hafftka-Marshall, AIA, President of AIA Central New York added, “We are proud that Senator Valesky has taken the lead on this important issue. Central New York will certainly enjoy the benefits that this enhanced tax credit will bring to rehabilitation projects. In a way, this program will act as stimulus for economic activity upstate.” The Central New York AIA Chapter has been in existence since 1887 and has 234 members.
The Legislator of the Year Award was established in 1977 to recognize outstanding legislative contributions to the profession and the practice of architecture by a New York State Legislator. The Legislator of the Year has demonstrated leadership and an active role in advancing the legislative priorities of AIANYS. The last legislator from Central New York to receive this award was former Senator Doug Barclay in 1982.
Founded in 1931, AIA New York State, has a statewide membership of 6,800 members in 13 chapters and speaks for the interests of all registered architects in New York State. Its parent organization, The American Institute of Architects  (AIA), is a nationwide, 83,000 member based organization (www.aianys.org ).
The primary functions of AIA New York State are public awareness to increase the public's general knowledge and awareness of architecture and the role architects play in the built and planned environment; and government affairs to monitor state legislative and regulatory activities to promote and enhance the profession of architecture, those who practice, and to ensure the health, safety and welfare of the public it serves