Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

January 30, 2014

High and Locust could become historic district

BY JOE OLENICK joe.olenick@lockportjournal.com
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — The City of Lockport is attempting to have the High Street and Locust Street neighborhood listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district.

Working with Clinton Brown Company Architecture, the city plans to submit the neighborhood’s nomination for listing by the spring to the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. 

If High and Locust are listed on the registry, the owners of about 85 homes and other properties will be eligible for state tax credits, said Robert Hagen, chairman of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission. Those credits would go to owners who do preservation-minded repairs and renovations, covering about 20 percent of the qualified expenses.

“This nomination advances the work of the commission in protecting and enhancing Lockport’s historic resources and will put money back into the pockets of historic property owners who invest in their properties,” Hagen said.

In 2010 the city hired Clinton Brown Company Architecture to do a “reconnaissance” survey of one-third of the city, looking for properties that might be eligible for historic designation because they’re architecturally or culturally significant.

The survey said the historic district included properties on and north of High Street to Canal Street, west of Washburn Street to South Transit. The survey was completed in 2011.

“Listing in the National Register is a prestigious honor that will recognize the special architectural and historical character of this part of our city,” said Mayor Michael W. Tucker.

At a meeting Wednesday, Common Council members approved the city historic preservation committee’s request to try for another grant from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The application will be sent by the Saturday deadline.

The grant would be for a total of $30,000, with the city covering $6,000 of it. The cash would be used to commission another survey and expanding the historic district, this time looking at properties in the northwest corner of the city.

The $6,000 wouldn’t be due until 2015, as the process takes about nine months to complete the survey. The clock doesn’t start though, until the grant is officially awarded to the city.

The area surveyed would be roughly from Glenwood Avenue south to Stevens and High streets, from Trowbridge Street east to North Transit Street. There’s a sliver that would run east from Transit along Grand and Clinton streets as well.

“It’s important to protect our heritage whenever we can,” Tucker said.

• Common Council members may vote next week to bring in a firm to look at how much the City of Lockport is collecting from gross sales tax on utility companies.

The city may go with Computel Consultants, a group recommended by the New York Conference of Mayors. It would cost the city 40 percent of what’s recovered.

The issue came up last week when Common Council President Anne E. McCaffrey was sharing some goals the Council should have for 2014. Among them included imposing a gross receipts tax, an idea that came from the New York Conference of Mayors.

Lockport already has a 1 percent tax on the gross sales within the city limits, but members were unsure last week if the city was collecting all it was entitled to.

Contact reporter Joe Olenick at 439-9222, ext. 6241 or follow him on Twitter @joeolenick.