Lakeview Avenue Joins Historic List

Homeowners along and near Lakeview Avenue can now receive tax credits for renovation work.

Earlier this month, the state Board for Historic Preservation approved adding Lakeview Avenue to the state Register of Historic Places. This is the first residential neighborhood in Jamestown to be added to the list. Greg Lindquist, Jamestown Renaissance Corporation executive director, said adding Lakeview Avenue to the list follows the addition of downtown Jamestown to the list in 2014.

In the fall of 2015, the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation received a $9,090 Preserve New York grant from the Preservation League of New York. The grant money was used to complete a National Register District nomination for Lakeview Avenue, which has an intact collection of late-19th and early-20th century homes and many still retain their architectural integrity.

More than two decades ago, consultants Bero Architecture of Rochester completed a survey of the Lakeview Avenue properties. Bero Architecture was rehired to revisit the 1993 survey in order to create a National Register Historic District. The historic district stretches from Lake View Cemetery to East Sixth Street. Several Lakeview Avenue side streets are also included in the historic district.

”When we started, there were only 90 properties, but when Bero Architecture came to view the area they recommended to expand from just Lakeview Avenue to include side streets like Spruce (Street), and we agreed to that. The final district includes a little over 200 properties,” Lindquist said.

Lindquist said the Lakeview Avenue historic district will now be sent to the federal government for approval for the National Register of Historic Places. He said that designation should be approved in the next 90 days.

In October, Jennifer Walkowski, state Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation historic preservation specialist, hosted a public meeting on the Lakeview Avenue historic district. She said the designation will not restrict what homeowners and commercial businesses can do to renovate their property. She said the state won’t be reviewing all renovation projects and there will be no state preservation board overseeing development work. She added the only state oversight will be done if the property owner wants to receive income tax credits for their renovation project.

Walkowski said there are two programs to be eligible for tax credits for rehabilitation projects. One is for residential homeowners and one is for commercially owned property, which is anything income producing like a rental property.

For the residential program, property owners will only be eligible to receive state historic tax credits for their projects. For commercial properties, owners are eligible to receive both state and federal tax credits. Tax credits for each state and federal program is 20 percent. For commercial projects eligible for both state and federal tax credits, property owners could receive up to 40 percent in income tax credits for rehabilitation projects.

Walkowski said it is a three-step process for both the residential and commercial programs. Step one is to submit an application, which will be reviewed by Walkowski to make sure the property is historic or in a historic district. Step two is for the property owner to list what they would like to improve and send before photos. Step three is for the owner to send in the after photos to prove they did the renovation work approved by the state. At this point, the owner will receive their income tax credits for the project.

For residential projects, Walkowski said there is a list of eligible projects like HVAC improvements, new roofs and porch renovations. She said the renovation project has to be for at least $5,000 and 5 percent of the rehabilitation cost have to be to the exterior of the building. She added homeowners can do more than one renovation project eligible for tax credits.

Lindquist said the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation will be hosting workshops in the coming weeks to help homeowners with the process of receiving tax credits for renovation work.

Lindquist said city officials are looking into other neighborhoods that might qualify to be a historic district. He said they haven’t identified an specific additional neighborhoods yet.

”This is the first (neighborhood historic district), but will not be the last,” he said.

The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York state and the nation. There are more than 120,000 historic buildings, structures and sites throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.


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