Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

September 28, 2021

Dan Keefe | Brian Nearing
(518) 486-1868 |

State Parks Announces $300,000 in Historic Preservation Grants for Genesee Valley

Projects Supported at Seven Historic Sites in Orleans, Allegany, Cattaraugus, Wyoming, and Livingston counties

State Parks announced today that seven historic rehabilitation projects in rural Western New York will be supported by more than $300,000 in federal grants and local matching funds.

Made under the Genesee Valley Rural Revitalization Grant Program (GVRR), the funds will support such projects as repairs to a 1920s movie theater, asbestos removal at a community center, and improvements to a 19th century hotel.

"The historic resources in these communities are tremendous assets to tap into heritage tourism opportunities," said Erik Kulleseid, Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "As these seven nonprofits and businesses have endured through the pandemic, we are thrilled to see these funds used as a tool to assist with local recovery and the preservation of these important historic resources."

GVRR is supported by a $750,000 award made to State Parks through the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Fund as administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Another $43,250 in matching funds were provided by the Rochester Area Community Foundation, Letchworth Gateway Villages, and the Landmark Society of Western New York.

"We are excited to partner with State Parks to assist with offering this important funding for rural rehabilitation projects in our most treasured Genesee Valley communities," said Wayne Goodman, Executive Director of the Landmark Society of Western New York, which is co-administering the GVRR program.

Grants in the first GVRR round were issued to:


  • Village of Holley Development Corporation, Holley (Orleans County) - The Village of Holley Development Corporation will receive $50,000 for the first phase of stabilization and rehabilitation of the historic Holley Odd Fellows Hall, which was built in 1890s, and has suffered vacancy and deterioration since 2010.


  • Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County, Belmont (Allegany County) - The Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County will receive $49,210 for ADA upgrades and exterior repairs to the historic MacKenzie House. The building will also be placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

  • Silver Lake Institute, Silver Lake (Wyoming County) - The Silver Lake Institute will receive $40,000 for asbestos remediation at the historic Epworth Hall, a large assembly hall used for public meetings, events, and programs.

  • Patrick Reynolds/The American Hotel, Lima (Livingston County) – Hotel owner Patrick Reynolds will receive $45,600 to rehabilitate the historic hotel portico and entrance. The American Hotel was constructed in 1862 and is an anchor building in the community.

  • Gowanda's Historic Hollywood Theater, Ltd., Gowanda (Cattaraugus County) - Gowanda's Historic Hollywood Theater, Ltd. will receive $35,500 for an architectural evaluation of the theater parapet and exterior masonry repairs. This theater opened in 1926 and has been undergoing extensive rehabilitation. It is a centerpiece of the Gowanda Historic District, which is on the state and national Registers of Historic Places.

  • Mount Morris Historical Society, Mount Morris (Livingston County) - The Mount Morris Historical Society will receive $37,405 to restore 33 historic windows of the Mills Mansion, the former home of Livingston County founder General William Augustus Mills, a veteran of the War of 1812.

  • Cuba Friends of Architecture, Cuba (Allegany County) -The Cuba Friends of Architecture will receive $42,8000 funds to recondition, seal, and repair the roof of the historic Palmer Opera House. Funds will also be dedicated to exterior masonry repairs of this important community space.

Created in 2018, the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program supports rehabilitation of historic properties as part of economic development in rural communities for properties either listed on the state and national Registers of Historic Places or expected to be listed. This program funds preservation projects for historic sites, including architectural and engineering services, and physical building preservation.


For more information about the GVRR grant program, including future opportunities to apply, contact Megan Klem, Preservation Planner at the Landmark Society of Western New York by emailing or visiting A second round of grant funding totaling more than $400,000 will be announced this fall.


For more information about current grant projects, contact Daniel McEneny, Community Engagement Coordinator at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation at


The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which were visited by a record 78 million in 2020. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on InstagramTwitter or on the State Parks blog