Press Release

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

Aug 3, 2018

Syracuse, NY – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand visited the historic Hotel Syracuse 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. This funding supports historic preservation and economic development projects around the state, including the historic Hotel Syracuse, which was vacant for more than a decade until, with the help of $14 million in federal historic tax credit investments to help pay for over $70.3 million in project costs, it was renovated and reopened.

“Federal funding for rebuilding historic structures helped reopen and revitalize the Historic Hotel Syracuse, and because of projects like this, 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.”

“I applaud Senator Gillibrand for her advocacy in favor of the federal Historic Preservation Fund and the federal Historic Preservation Tax Credit program.  These are critical programs that spur redevelopment and protect historic buildings in cities like Syracuse and across Upstate NY.  I urge Congress to continue funding these vital programs.  They work in conjunction with the recently extended State Historic Preservation Tax credit to spur needed investments in our Downtowns and Main Streets,” said William Magnarelli, NYS Assembly, 129th District.

“The deteriorating Hotel Syracuse’s renovation and reopening as the Marriott Syracuse Downtown would simply not have been possible without the Federal Government’s Historic Preservation Tax Incentives including the State and Federal 20% Rehabilitation Tax Credits.  The Hotel’s restoration is an outstanding example of how these incentives work, not only to save a significant historic structure, but more importantly generate economic stimulus and employment for the local economy.  Additionally, the Marriott Syracuse Downtown is an example of what can be accomplished when local, state and federal governments work together with the private sector toward a common goal that benefits the entire community,” said Edward M. Riley, Managing Member, Hotel Syracuse Restoration.

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, 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 Central New York that have received this critical federal funding include:

  • Syracuse, NY – $400,000 in federal historic tax credit investment helped pay for $2 million in project costs to renovate the historic Courier Building, which features space for restaurants and apartments.
  • Syracuse, NY – More than $1.6 million in federal historic tax credit investment helped pay for more than $8.1 million in project costs to turn the former West Brothers Knitting Company factory into affordable housing.
  • Syracuse, NY – $558,000 in federal historic tax credit investment helped pay for $2.79 million in project costs to convert Syracuse’s historic Odd Fellows Lodge and Temple into affordable housing.
  • Fulton, NY – More than $360,000 in federal historic tax credit investment helped pay for more than $1.8 million in project costs to turn an old school into the Oak Street Senior Apartments.

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                                           


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.