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Promising Findings from University District Historic Survey

The University District Community Development Association (UDCDA), Council Member Rasheed N.C. Wyatt, and Kensington Bailey Historical Committee invite community members to attend a public meeting on (today – sorry for the late notice) Thursday, August 9th, 2018 from 5 to 8 P.M. at UB South Campus in Hayes Hall Room 403 to discuss the results of a survey of historic resources in University District, including the potential for a new National Register Historic District.  Refreshments will be served and free parking is available in Townsend and Parker Lots.

Council Member Rasheed N.C Wyatt says “This is a very important step towards further development in the University District. By continuing these efforts to discover the historic fabric of the area neighborhoods would greatly improve opportunities.”

Schedule for the meeting:

  • 5-6PM: General community updates
  • 6-8PM: Historic survey findings and Q&A

The University District Survey of Historic Resources builds on a preliminary neighborhood context survey completed in 2016 by two Masters of Urban Planning students at UB’s School of Architecture and Planning. This student-led project developed from recommendations by the Preservation League of New York State and the State Historic Preservation Office. Guidance offered by Preservation Buffalo Niagara also helped link the UDCDA to funding opportunities offered through the Preservation League, to further the historic research on University District.

The UDCDA retained kta preservation specialists, a Buffalo-based preservation consulting firm, to conduct a historic reconnaissance level survey of five areas within the University District thanks to a $10,000 Preserve New York grant from the Preservation League of New York State and New York State Council on the Arts with matching funds from Evans Bank.

Constructed between 1900-1940, these neighborhoods were some of the last to be developed within the City of Buffalo’s boundaries. They represent a diverse mix of styles, including American Foursquare, Colonial Revival, and Workmen’s Bungalow and developed thanks to the expansion of the city’s streetcar system and development of the University at Buffalo.

The survey, completed in the summer of 2018 includes a field study looking at the architecture and design of each neighborhood, in depth historic and archival research looking at the development of each neighborhood, and an analysis of the historic trends and themes that influenced the social, cultural, economic, political, and industrial growth of the area. Kta has identified the potential for a National Register Historic District within the study area and will prepare a National Register nomination for submission to the State Historic Preservation Office and National Parks Service.

Once nominated and listed to the Register, homeowners within the designated neighborhood with contributing buildings would then be eligible for the New York State Historic Homeowner Tax Credit Program, which covers 20% of qualified rehabilitation costs, up to a credit value of $50,000. This is be an important tool in assisting homeowners make critical repairs to an aging housing stock. Business owners with contributing commercial properties would be eligible for a 20% federal and 20% state tax credit.

Darren Cotton, Director of Community Development & Planning for the UDCDA says “This survey is an exciting start to uncovering the stories behind the people and places that built University District. Historic Preservation is not only a tool for remembering the past, but also encouraging reinvestment in our community’s future.”

Kta preservation specialists will present the full findings of survey at the meeting with recommendations for next steps. Preservation Buffalo Niagara will also be on hand to talk about historic tax credits and how community residents can benefit.

Written by Buffalo Rising

Buffalo Rising

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