Landmark Society joins Holley in effort to preserve downtown building
HOLLEY – The Landmark Society of Western New York will join Village of Holley officials during a noon presentation on Thursday, when a banner is unveiled at the former Odd Fellows Building naming it a “Five to Revive” site.
The Landmark Society and village officials will also discuss future plans for the building. The Landmark Society each year since 2013 has picked five important sites in the Rochester region in need of investment. The Odd Fellows Building in Holley made the list this past October.
The Landmark Society previously listed other sites in Holley, including the old Holley High School in 2013 and the Hillside Cemetery and Chapel in 2014. The designation drew attention to the sites and local officials believe it was helpful in getting investment in the old school and also the cemetery chapel.
Built in 1890, the former Odd Fellows Hall sits at a prominent corner in the village square and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Holley Village Historic District, the Landmark Society said.
The building has been vacant for more than two years. It is at risk due to neglect and masonry deterioration, the Landmark Society said.
Several years ago Orleans County auctioned off the building in a tax foreclosure proceeding to an online bidder. The new owner did nothing but accumulate back taxes and fines for code violations. So, the Village of Holley hired a private investigator to track down the absent owner, as a first step in getting the historic building in the hands of someone who is committed to its revitalization, the Landmark Society said.
The private investigator discovered that the owner had a PO box in Florida. Armed with her name and address, a village code officer paid her a visit on his own time while on vacation. She agreed to turn the building over to the Village of Holley Local Development Corporation (LDC) in exchange for them paying the back taxes.
The village also sought the help of the Landmark Society. The Landmark Society is supporting Holley with a grant to fund a study that will outline what needs to be done to save the building.
Local officials and members of the LDC will join others to hang a “Five to Revive Banner” on the building at noon on Thursday. The banner indicates that the Landmark Society has made revitalizing this building a priority. The public is invited.