Preservationists will give Holley $5K to help get Public Square, old school on National Register

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 October 2014 at 12:00 am

Photo by Richard Margolis – The former Holley High School, which sits in a high-profile spot on Route 31, has fallen into disrepair and has been mostly vacant for two decades. This photo was taken for the landmark Society of Western New York, which in 2013 named the school to the inaugural “Five to Revive.”

HOLLEY – Preservation organizations from outside Holley continue to take an interest in seeing the old Holley High School be saved and returned as a contributing asset in the community.

The Preservation League of New York State will give the Village of Holley $5,000 towards the state and federal applications for historic status for the Public Square and the old school.

If the school and Square are listed on the state and national registers of historic places, a redevelopment project would be eligible for 40 percent of the capital costs in tax credits.

The Preservation League will give Holley a $5,000 “Preserve New York” grant to complete the state and federal nomination for an historic district. The district would include about 40 properties in the downtown Public Square, as well as the old school.

The project, to be completed by Bero Architecture in Rochester, will enhance this Erie Canal community’s revitalization efforts, especially opportunities to rehabilitate the vacant 1931 Holley High School designed by Rochester architect Carl Ade, Preservation League officials said in a press advisory today.

“Located in the heart of the downtown, this handsome Classical Revival building could benefit from access to state and federal tax credits that would come with the listing of the proposed historic district,” the group said in a statement.

Preservation League officials will announce the funding at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday outside the old school. They will meet with Holley Mayor John Kenney and the Landmark Society of Western New York.

The Landmark Society last year named the school to its debut list of “Five to Revive.” The group has been working with the village to draw interest in the school, and line up historic credentials so the property has access to tax incentives.

Built in 1931, the former Holley High School is a strategically located and well-recognized landmark, which occupies a prominent site in the village at the central intersection of Wright and Main streets (NYS Routes 31 & 237), the Landmark Society said in naming the school to the “Five to Revive.”

The school has been vacant for about 20 years. Kenney said developers have shown interest in the site for senior apartments.

The Public Square is in the core of the village and includes a collection of late-nineteenth and early twentieth-century commercial, religious, residential, and educational architecture.