ALBANY, NY (09/23/2014) – The Preservation League recently made a $5,800 grant to the GARNER Arts Center, the not-for-profit arm of the Garnerville Arts & Industrial Center.
The grant is the third made from the Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund of the Preservation League of New York State. The grant to GARNER will support the cost of a conditions assessment and feasibility study for the reuse of Building 21 in the mill complex known historically as the Garner Print Works.
BKSK Architects of New York City was selected to produce this study, which includes the exploration of options for viable uses, a preferred conceptual approach, an annotated drawing for the preferred approach, and preparation of a conceptual cost estimate.
The Garner Print Works is a remarkably intact manufacturing complex. First established as a textile mill in 1828, the Garner Print Works made uniforms for the Union Army in the Civil War. The mill complex of some 40 buildings straddles the Minisceongo Creek, which supplied water to the mill for manufacturing but which caused significant flooding and damage to the complex during Hurricane Irene.
The Preservation League added the Garner Print Works mill complex to its 2012 list of Seven to Save endangered places, and awarded the GarnerArtsCenter a $3,000 Technical Assistance Grant to determine the viability and costs of converting Building 35, the then-vacant mill cafeteria, into gallery and exhibition space for the ArtsCenter. Renovation of Building 35 is currently underway.
Later in 2012, the Preservation League, in partnership with the New York State Council on the Arts, awarded the GarnerArtsCenter a Preserve New York grant of $7,724 to complete a National Register Historic District nomination for the Garner Print Works. The complex was designated a New York State Historic District in 2013 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in March, 2014 as the Rockland Print Works Historic District.
“We are proud of our long history of supporting the preservation efforts at the Garner Print Works, and delighted to make this grant from the Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund,” said Jay DiLorenzo, President of the Preservation League. “In fact, the League recently launched an Industrial Heritage Reuse Project to breathe new life into upstate New York’s vacant industrial buildings. The League hopes to return these buildings to productive use, provide a model for other communities across the state, and encourage them to embrace and promote their industrial heritage. The GARNERArtsCenter success story can help investors see buildings like these not as relics of the past, but as developable assets with a role in New York’s future.”
“The Hurricane devastated GARNERArtsCenter’s beautiful loft gallery and base of operations in Building 21,” said Robin Rosenberg, President of GARNER Arts Center. “Thankfully, we were able to save the historic exterior wall of the building but what is left is an empty shell. The Gratz Grant has provided us the opportunity to envision our future and create an exciting new life for this once-beautiful structure that will add to the cultural life and economic vitality of our region. We look forward to attracting thousands of visitors again one day with the help of this Grant and the assistance we have received from the Preservation League. We are immensely grateful for their support and that of the Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund for this exceptional grant opportunity.
“We are also honored to have our state and local representatives present while we unveil a plaque recognizing our designation as a National Register Historic District. We are indebted to the Preservation League and New York State Council on the Arts for this opportunity, which was made possible by their award of a Preserve New York grant to GARNERArtsCenter for the preparation of a National Register nomination.”
The Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund was established in 2010 and is funded through a permanently endowed charitable contribution from Thomas J. Schwarz. The primary goals of the Donald Stephen Gratz Preservation Services Fund are to fund professional services for important preservation projects that: illustrate the benefits of the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program, leverage other public and private investments, and enable the League to react quickly to preservation opportunities with financial resources. Previous recipients include Friends of Fort Plain in MontgomeryCounty and Adirondack Architectural Heritage in Keeseville, Clinton and EssexCounties.
As a metal fabricator in Long Island City, Donald Stephen Gratz worked with modern architects, industrial designers, sculptors and furniture designers from Mies Van der Rohe to I.M.Pei to Barnett Newman and Bill Katavalos. But he always had a soft spot for historic preservation and enthusiastically supported the work of his wife, Roberta Brandes Gratz, a longtime Preservation League Trustee. He loved attending League events.
Thomas J. Schwarz, who endowed the fund, is a member of the Preservation League’s Trustees Council. He serves as President of Purchase College, SUNY, and is a board member and alumnus of HamiltonCollege with great affection for upstate New York.