The recent state historic designation for Hamlin Park is a magnificent achievement for a community well deserving of the accolades and benefits that go along with the status. National historic designation ought to be the natural next step.
As recently reported, Buffalo’s 14208 ZIP code has been deemed a state historic district. Backers believe it is also well on its way to becoming the East Side’s first national registered historic district.
Hamlin Park, with its 2,800 East Side residents, should get the titles and the tax credits that go along with it. With the state designation, homeowners are able to receive 20 percent tax credits from the state on eligible renovation projects. It’s an incentive with real value to a neighborhood and one that has been enjoyed by residents of Allentown and recently Elmwood.
Should properties in Hamlin Park receive national register designation, commercial businesses, including both businesses and rental properties, would be eligible for a 20 percent tax credit from the state, as well as another 20 percent federal tax credit.
Once again, the potential for economic development from homeowners putting people to work and neighborhood revitalization is phenomenal. The excitement once neighbors realize the potential is often inspiring. Watching workers busy preserving the history of these buildings is heartwarming.
And it will be so especially in historic Hamlin Park.
Bounded by Humboldt Parkway, Jefferson Avenue, and East Ferry and Main streets, Buffalo’s mostly African-American neighborhood saw a “golden period” of black middle-class community in the 1960s and 1970s. It is today a well-respected and well-thought-of neighborhood.
Kudos must be given to those who, with dogged determination, pursued the historic designation.
About two years ago, the Hamlin Park group partnered with Preservation Studios and the Preservation League of New York State with the help of Preservation Buffalo Niagara. Individual ownership of the project and about $10,000 in grants from the state’s Preservation League and the City of Buffalo to help hire some administrative staff moved the process.
The potential for the designation had long been talked about but it took a lot of work by a lot of good people to get there.
Congratulations are also due to five other sites in Western New York added to the state register of historic places: Buffalo’s E.M. Hager & Sons Co. Planing Mill, 141 Elm St.; the Buffalo Zoo Entrance Court; the Meldrum-Edwards Building, Pearl Street; the Town of Tonawanda Municipal Building in Kenmore; and the Herschell-Spillman Motor Co. Complex in North Tonawanda.