June 23, 2009

Schumer, Gillibrand Announce Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Approves $200,000 for Richardson Olmstead Complex

Funding Would Enable the Development of the National Historic Landmark Richardson Olmstead Complex

U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Senate Appropriations Interior and Environment Subcommittee has approved the FY10 Appropriations Bill which includes $200,000 for the Richardson Olmstead Complex (ROC) in Buffalo. The funding will be used to begin the first phase of grounds rehabilitation to develop the area as a landscape that is open to the public that includes a park and walking paths. Schumer and Gillibrand worked closely with members of the Appropriations Subcommittee to include funding for the project in this year's spending bill.

"This is great news for Buffalo, which is blessed with rich architectural heritage and glorious parks, thanks in no small part to the men commemorated in this facility -- HH Richardson and Frederick Law Olmstead," said Schumer. "The Richardson Olmstead Complex will be a new jewel for Buffalo and this funding will help stabilize and rehabilitate the buildings to make them developer-ready, creating jobs and generating economic development in the area. The funds will also carry on Buffalo's tradition for maintaining cultural and historical architecture."

"This is a great step forward in the preservation and redevelopment of this historical landmark," Senator Gillibrand said. "Rehabilitation of this complex will bring much needed  jobs to the region, be an integral part of Buffalo's economic development, and open this unique structure to the public to utilize and enjoy. This is another feather in the cap for a city that is known for its unique architecture and cultural tourism."

The Richardson Center Corporation is rehabilitating the National Historic Landmark Richardson Olmsted Complex.  Appropriation funding will be utilized for  preparation of the buildings and grounds for a regional Architecture Center, City of Buffalo Visitor Center, and boutique hotel, including building stabilization and preparation for a developer, and a rehabilitated landscape.

The first phase of rehabilitation will rehabilitate the grounds south of the towers administration building, reinstate a loop entrance off of Forest Avenue that echoes the historic entry alignment, rehabilitate the grounds immediately north of the historic buildings and create pedestrian pathways. The rehabilitation of this landscape is a vital component of the Richardson Olmsted Complex reuse planning.  The grounds will be developed as a landscape that is open to the public, including a park-like space and walking paths.

Changes to the landscape will respect the Olmsted characteristics and be incorporated in a manner sensitive to the historic character of the site; and integrate parking for new and existing uses.  The historic intent of a unified therapeutic landscape for residents of the site and the neighborhood will be returned.

Now that the bill has been approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, it will be sent to the full Senate Appropriations Committee. Following approval by the Full Committee and the Senate, the bill will move towards Conference with the House and then to the President for signature.