Historic designation may be sought

CROWNPOINT-Crown Point may seek federal designation as a historic district in order to make repairs to the Knapp Senior Center.

The building, located at the edge of Veterans Park, is in disrepair and needs substantial work, Supervisor Bethany Kosmider said.

"We called in a structural engineer to look at it," she said. "There are problems with the foundation that must be fixed."

The century-old building, which serves as home to Crown Point senior citizens, was given to the town in the 1970s by the Masons. The deed requires the town to consult with the Masons before making any changes to the building.

The real issue, though, is money. Kosmider said the town doesn't have the money to make the repairs - which is the reason for the possible historic district designation.

If the area surrounding the park becomes a historic district, it becomes eligible for grant funding, Kosmider explained.

"At this point we're just looking into it," the supervisor said of the designation. "Adirondack Architectural Heritage is doing the leg work. We can opt out at any time."

Steven Engelhart, executive director of the Keeseville-based Adirondack Architectural Heritage, is assisting the town.

"One source of funding identified for this project was historic preservation funding from New York State," Engelhart explained. "In order to qualify for this funding, the building would have to be on the National Register of Historic Places. In discussing this, it also became apparent that several other structures in the vicinity, like the Congregational Church and Hammond Chapel, might also benefit from being listed on the National Register. Hence, the idea to create an historic district."

At this point the town has applied for a grant to hire AAH to prepare a "national register" nomination for the district.

Before a nomination is submitted to the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, a public hearing must be held and the town board must approve the application. A majority of the owners of the buildings in the historic district must also approve.

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