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Landmark Society wants to partner with Gaines officials to promote Childs hamlet

Photos by Tom Rivers: Two officials from the Landmark Society of Western New York met with Gaines town officials on Monday to discuss the next steps in promoting and protecting the Childs hamlet. Larry Francer, associate director of preservation for the Landmark Society, and Caitlin Meives is the director of preservation. They are shown speaking with Gaines Town Board members Mary Neilans and Jim Kirby, and Town Supervisor Joe Grube. Town Clerk Susan Heard is in front.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 February 2020 at 12:56 pm

Cobblestone Historic District has potential for investment, but issues with parking, pedestrian safety

GAINES – The Childs hamlet, which includes the Cobblestone Museum and several businesses and historic structures, is “a really special place,” Gaines town officials were told by the Landmark Society of Western New York.

Two Landmark Society officials attended Monday’s Town Board meeting, and offered to help coordinate a community forum to get feedback from residents about the hamlet and historic district. The Landmark Society also offered to write grants for the town to pursue funding for sidewalks and streetscape improvements.

The Landmark Society on Oct. 16 named the Childs hamlet as one of “Five to Revive” in the Rochester region, an annual list the Landmark Society presents of sites that have strong public support but are in need of protection and investment.

“We’re saying this place is really great with lots of historic resources – the Cobblestone Museum and other historic buildings – and more economic potential,” Caitlin Meives, director of preservation for the Landmark Society, said in a presentation to the Town Board.

The Five to Revive designation was a key designation in helping to bring attention to the old Holley High School, which will soon open with 41 affordable senior apartments and the Holley village offices, following a $17 million construction project by Home Leasing.

The Five to Revive also helped the Town of Clarendon secure a state grant and other funding to work on the chapel building at Hillside Cemetery.

“We have found the Five to Revive is a great tool to build public momentum and dollars,” Meives said.

The Landmark Society urged the Gaines Town Board to be a strong partner in shaping the Childs hamlet.

Town Supervisor Joe Grube said the town would welcome assistance from the Landmark Society. The next step may be a community meeting led by the Landmark Society, where there will be different stations to measure feedback from residents about the hamlet.

The Landmark Society will also have experts at the meeting to help people interested in getting their home or building on the National Register of Historic Places. That designation brings prestige and also can help with tax incentives for a capital project.

Farmer’s Hall, left, and the harness shop are shown on Monday night on Route 98. They are part of the Cobblestone Museum in the Childs hamlet near the intersection of routes 98 and 104. Local officials would like to make it safer for pedestrians crossing Ridge Road to see the museum’s buildings on Route 98.

Grube said the hamlet could use sidewalks and crosswalks. He said crossing Ridge Road is difficult for many of the Cobblestone Museum visitors. The museum often will have crossing guards at big events to make it safer for people walking at the busy intersection.

The Landmark Society could also facilitate with a parking study that could identify better ways to utilize space in the hamlet for parking.

Several museum board members attended Monday’s meeting. Chris Sartwell, one of the museum trustees, said that parking is a problem, especially when tractor trailers park by the side of the road right in front of the historic Cobblestone Church.

The Landmark Society said it would coordinate with the Cobblestone Museum and the town on when to have a public meeting and at what location.

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