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Keeseville workshop: Upper floors reuse key to revitalizing main streets

September 6, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

ALBANY - In 2004, the Preservation League of New York State launched an ambitious pilot project of workshops and technical assistance in western New York to address an important aspect of Main Street revitalization: the reuse of vacant upper stories in downtown commercial buildings.

Now, the League is bringing its workshop to Keeseville on Monday, September 10, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Ausable Valley Grange, 1749 Main St. in Keeseville.

"We developed and offered a model workshop, Enhancing Main Street: Making Upper Floors Work Again, in six western New York counties to demonstrate how upper floors can offer attractive housing options," said Jay DiLorenzo, president of the Preservation League. "Now, with the support of the Empire State Development Corporation, we are continuing to present this program around the state. By bringing together experts in the fields of historic preservation, project development, financing, and New York state building codes in one place at one time, we hope to address many questions facing building owners who are thinking about upper floor conversion possibilities."

The Preservation League has found that interest in downtown revitalization is very strong and growing in New York state. Through the Upper Floors program and by monitoring upper floors projects already underway, the Preservation League is building a case for reinvestment in the state's historic commercial centers.

"The League has advocated strongly for tools like the Rehabilitation Tax Credit to help direct new investments to our older cities to make them safer, healthier and more prosperous - places people want to live as well as work." said DiLorenzo. "Each community faces unique challenges, but with programs like the Tax Credit and the generous sharing of best practices by experts at our Upper Floors workshops, the lights are coming back on above many Main Street shops and offices across upstate New York."

"The Preservation League is proud to partner with the Empire State Development Corporation, Adirondack Architectural Heritage, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and many others in encouraging downtown revitalization," said Erin Tobin, the League's regional director of technical and grant programs in eastern New York. "As we've seen around the state, creating downtown housing in formerly vacant upper floors leads to an increase in foot traffic and purchasing on Main Streets before and after work hours. Investment in a community's historic districts and structures will happen when vision and practicality meet."

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The workshop is free and open to the public and includes materials and refreshments. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. To RSVP, contact Susan Arena at Adirondack Architectural Heritage at 518-834-9328, or email



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