Franklin Stage Wins Preserve New York Grant

Staff report

Franklin Stage Company has won a $5200 Preserve New York (PNY) grant to fund a Building Condition Report of historic Chapel Hall, to be carried out by Crawford and Sterns, Architects & Preservation Planners, PLLC. The Preservation League of New York State and their program partners at the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) will fund this important work.

The refurbished Chapel Hall

Chapel Hall is a magnificent three-story Greek Revival edifice built in 1855 as part of the Delaware Literary Institute, which provided a classical education to young men and women from across the country until the early 1900s. From 1911-1996, the Masons owned the building, converting the first-floor chapel into a theater and the third floor into a stunning Masonic Temple. Chapel Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Franklin Village Historic District.

This report will inform Franklin Stage Company’s planning for continued restoration, rehabilitation, and upkeep of their historic home. “We’re thrilled and grateful to be a grant recipient this year!” said Co-Artistic Director Leslie Noble. “In this difficult time of pandemic, when we’re not able to produce theater, it’s heartening to be able to continue our stewardship of Chapel Hall.”

At its 2020 meeting, the Preserve New York grant panel selected 19 applicants in 15 counties to receive support totaling $193,390. Many of these grants will lead to historic district designation or expansion, allowing property owners to take advantage of the New York State and Federal Historic Tax Credits. With the announcement of the 2020 awards, support provided by Preserve New York since its launch in 1993 totals more than $3 million to 457 projects statewide.

The Preserve New York grant program is a partnership between the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) and the Preservation League, made possible with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Since 1993, the Preserve New York grant program has been providing funds to municipalities and nonprofit organizations that need technical, professional assistance to guide a variety of preservation projects. The historic structure reports, building condition reports, cultural landscape reports, and cultural resource surveys that are funded through this program can have profound impacts on the sites they are studying.

“Architecture and design are vital art forms that greatly impact the character and health of communities across the state,” said Mara Manus, Executive Director of the New York State Council on the Arts.

“Our longtime partnership with NYSCA has enabled us to support preservation initiatives in all of New York’s 62 counties,” said Erin Tobin, Vice President for Policy and Preservation and the Preservation League. “This year’s group of Preserve New York grant recipients continues the successful track record of this program of enabling preservation to thrive in every corner of the state.”

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