Study into the agricultural heritage of Clarence is being encouraged by New York State.
The town has been awarded $9,000 from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to support work on a survey of the town’s early barns and farmsteads.
The Planning Department submitted the application for the Certified Local Government Program grant to the state in October and was notified of the award July 2.
“At one time, Clarence contained some of the most prominent examples of early barns and agricultural outbuildings still intact within the Western New York region,” wrote Jim Callahan, director of community development, and the Planning Board in the application’s project description.
The description stated that in recent years the suburbanization of the town and widespread development of existing farmland contributed to the loss of a number of these farmsteads.
With the funds, the “Reconnaissance Level Survey of Barns and Agricultural Structures” will undertake an “intensive level of survey” of existing agricultural farmsteads, barns and associated outbuildings to determine which have historic value.
The town will use a study conducted in 2009 that cataloged historically significant residences, including agricultural structures, as a starting point for the survey.
“The goal would be to streamline the number of structures we need to do detailed analysis on,” said Callahan.
The survey would be a component of a bigger project to designate these structures local historical landmarks.
“Our long-term desire is to couple the local landmark designation program with the efforts of an existing $12.5 million land preservation program to create marketable sites that would be desirable for start-up businesses looking to sustain our historical commitment to agricultural production and service,” wrote the planning board.
The town will contribute $5,004 to the project with funds from the planning board budget and other resources.
The Certified Local Government funding is a reimbursement program that is to be under contract with the state’s Historic Preservation Office by Sept. 30 and completed in exactly one year.