Restoring History, One Building at a Time

Senator Patty Ritchie

January 24, 2019

Thousand Island Park Historical District
Senator Ritchie’s Weekly Column

Throughout Jefferson, Oswego and St. Lawrence Counties there are countless historic buildings that tell the story of our region’s past. While many investments have been made into improving and preserving these structures, many others are just too costly or difficult to maintain.

The good news is that help is available. Recently, it was announced that applications are being accepted for assistance via the “Preserve New York” grant program. Established in 1993 through a partnership between the New York State Council on the Arts and the Preservation League of New York State, the initiative provides grants for preservation planning projects.

Not-for-profit groups and municipalities are encouraged to apply and the deadline to do so is March 25, 2019. This year, more than $250,000 in grant funding is available, and grants can be used to help entities compile information—namely historic structure reports and building condition reports, among others—necessary to evaluate how to best proceed toward maintaining and protecting a historic structure for the future.

For more information, including guidelines and a list of frequently asked questions on the program, visit Please note, applications are not available online, and prospective applicants must discuss their proposed project with the Preservation League of New York State by calling (518) 462-5658 x10 or via email at

We have already seen how support through this program has helped our region. For example, last year, the Thousand Island Park Landmark Society received grant funding via the Presentation League of New York State that is helping to bolster the “Thousand Island Park Historic District,” a national historic district located on Wellesley Island in Jefferson County.

Central and Northern New York are rich with history, and much of our storied past is told through our breathtaking historic architecture. I am hopeful that through this program, we can continue to restore the beauty, culture and history that helps make our region so special.