August 24, 2018

Gillibrand Visits Newburgh To Announce Critical Federal Funding For Historic Preservation; Gillibrand's Successful Bipartisan Push To Senate Appropriators Prevented Devastating Cut To Program

Gillibrand Led Bipartisan Push in Senate Requesting Higher Funding Levels for Historic Preservation Investment that Benefits Projects Like the Ritz Theater Restoration

Newburgh, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today visited the Ritz Theater in Newburgh to announce her successful push to include $88.91 million in the Fiscal Year 2019 Senate Interior Appropriations bill for the Department of Interior’s Historic Preservation Fund. This funding amount is $56.2 million more than President Trump’s budget request for the program.

The Historic Preservation Fund supports historic preservation and economic development projects around the state, including in Newburgh. Newburgh is in the process of working with the State of New York on a federal historic tax credit investment for the Safe Harbors of the Hudson rehabilitation of the Ritz Theater, along with an expansion of the Boys and Girls Club of Newburgh at the former Key Bank building, among other local economic development projects. Newburgh also recently received $25,000 from the Historic Preservation Fund to update its historic inventory for the National Register of Historic Places, which positions historic properties in the community for historic tax credit investment.

“Federal funding for rebuilding historic structures helped reopen and revitalize several historic sites in the Hudson Valley, and because of projects like the Ritz Theater restoration, I was proud to lead the Senate’s bipartisan effort to support the federal Historic Preservation Fund,” said Senator Gillibrand. “When the Trump Administration’s budget request for this important program was millions of dollars lower than it had been before, I led a bipartisan push with my colleagues to keep this critical funding in place, and ended up securing $56 million more than what the President requested. This is great news for New York because this federal funding will help revitalize downtowns and main streets all over our state. I will always do everything I can in the Senate to help our communities thrive.”

“Safe Harbors of the Hudson applauds Senator Gillibrand’s support for increasing the availability of historic preservation funds. These critical funds enable organizations like Safe Harbors and communities like Newburgh to preserve their unique architectural and historic assets while generating downtown revitalization, attracting tourism and spurring economic development,” said Lisa Silverstone, Executive Director of Safe Harbors of the Hudson.

"Newburgh is home to the nation's first publically owned historic site with Washington's Headquarters. It is also has the largest contiguous historic district north of New York City. There is no better place than the City of Newburgh for Senator Gillibrand to announce her critical Federal funding for Historic Preservation," said Allison Cappella, President of the Board of Directors of the Newburgh Preservation Association.

“We are extremely grateful to have the Senator’s support in Washington to help protect our state’s historic resources.  The federal Historic Preservation Fund is vital to carrying out a multitude of historic preservation programs across the state,” said Rose Harvey, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.  “New York leads the nation in listing on the National Register of Historic Places and in the use of historic tax credits.  These programs have been extraordinary economic development tools for revitalizing vacant and underutilized historic buildings in our legacy communities.”

Federal funding for historic districts and investment in historic sites encourages and supports economic development that is critically important to the preservation and revitalization of communities throughout New York. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 requires all states to have a State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) to preserve historic sites in the United States. SHPOs have an annual funding agreement with the National Park Service that requires a non-federal matching share equal to at least 40 percent of the federal allocation. After 10 percent of the federal share is reserved for grants to participating communities, which includes Newburgh, funding is allocated for administration of programs required by federal statute. These programs include historic resource survey work, the National Register Program administration, compliance review of federally funded and permitted projects, federal historic tax credit program implementation, and the Certified Local Government program.

Other projects in the Hudson Valley that have received this critical federal funding include the following:

  • Newburgh, NY – $25,000 from the Historic Preservation Fund was awarded to the City of Newburgh to update its East End Historic District historic inventory for the National Register of Historic Places to position sites in the community for federal historic tax credit investment.
  • Poughkeepsie, NY – More than $1.1 million in federal historic tax credit investment helped pay for more than $5.8 million in project costs to turn the former Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory into a mixed-use building to serve as a community hub as part of an effort to revitalize the Middle Main Street corridor.
  • Peekskill, NY – More than $1.4 million in federal historic tax credit investment helped pay for over $7.4 million in project costs to convert the Drum Hill School into affordable independent housing for seniors.

In April, Gillibrand led a bipartisan letter calling on Senate Appropriators to provide $110.5 million in funding for the federal Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) for Fiscal Year 2019. This request rejected President Trump’s proposed cut of over $64 million in funding for this important program. The bipartisan letter was also signed by Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Gary Peters (D-MI), Edward Markey (D-MA), Tammy Duckworth (D-WI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Doug Jones (D-AL), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), and Bob Casey (D-PA).

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

April 27, 2018

The Honorable Lisa Murkowski                                           

Chairman

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on   

Interior, Environment and

Related Agencies

131 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

 

The Honorable Tom Udall

Ranking Member

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on   

Interior, Environment and

Related Agencies

101 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Dear Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Udall:

We write requesting that you support economic development, job creation, and our national heritage by appropriating $110.5 million in funding for the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) for Fiscal Year 2019 (FY2019). Of the total request, $55 million is for State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs), $15 million is for Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs), $500,000 is for grants to underserved communities, and $15 million is for the Save America’s Treasures grant program. This request also includes $5 million is for preservation grants to revitalize historic properties of national, State, and local significance, $15 million for the Civil Rights competitive grants initiative and $5 million for competitive grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

SHPOs and THPOs tie our nation’s historic preservation programs together. SHPOs carry out the National Historic Preservation Act, which provides citizens the tools they need to revitalize, rehabilitate, and protect American heritage. Annually, SHPOs also review more than 100,000 federal undertakings for their impact on historic resources and survey more than 16.5 million acres for cultural resources. SHPOs also administer the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit which, over the life of the program, has created more than 2.4 million jobs and leveraged more than $131 billion in private investment.

THPOs carry out many of the same functions as SHPOs for tribal governments. Just as the SHPOs review federal undertakings on state lands, the THPOs review federal undertakings on tribal government lands. There were only 12 THPOs when they first received funding in 1996. Today, there nearly 190 THPOs and funding has not kept pace with the growing number of THPOs; in FY2017, 180 tribes received an average of $58,000 in funding, more than $20,000 fewer than when the program first started.

Additionally, we support $15 million for competitive grants to fund the continuation of a Civil Rights initiative that preserves, documents, and interprets the sites and stories of the Civil Rights movement and the African-American experience, and $15 million for the Save America’s Treasure competitive grant program.

Funding these historic preservation programs is vital for ensuring that the unvarnished story of America is told. It is an investment in towns and cities throughout the country that benefit from tourists visiting historic sites and the public and private investment in restoring historic buildings. This funding is both an economic and historical imperative that creates construction jobs and protects historic resources that might otherwise be lost forever.

If you need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact our staff.

Sincerely,