Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation receives $10,000 grant from New York’s Preservation League

These Mathews flats apartment houses built in Ridgewood during the early 20th century helped transform the neighborhood into an urban community. (Ridgewood Times archives/Courtesy of Greater Ridgewood Historical Society)

The Greater Ridgewood Restoration Corporation (GRRC) was awarded a $10,000 grant from the Preservation League of New York State’s 2020 Preserve New York (PNY) program.

The grant, which is in partnership at the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), will fund a Cultural Resource Survey of the Ridgewood Extension Neighborhood. PNY enables the Preservation League to support projects in all of New York’s 62 counties, and is made possible with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

“Architecture and design are vital art forms that greatly impact the character and health of communities across the state,” said Mara Manus, executive director of the New York State Council on the Arts. “NYSCA is proud to partner with Preservation League of New York State to provide organizations and municipalities across the state with financial support to advance their innovative preservation initiatives.”

The GRRC is a nonprofit founded in 1975 that is dedicated to “preserving and upgrading the housing stock of Ridgewood and its neighboring communities (Glendale, Middle Village and Maspeth).” Their programs are aimed at providing “community development improvements to raise the quality of life, maintain stability, assist tenants to remain in their homes, and preserve valuable housing stock through improved management, and removing graffiti,” according to their mission statement.

The Preservation League emphasized Ridgewood is significant for its collection of early 20th-century commercial and institutional buildings constructed during a period of rapid growth, which serves as the neighborhood’s “Main Street” corridor. Ridgewood is noted for its social and ethnic history with the German immigrant population that settled there in the early 20th century.

GRRC’s $10,000 grant will enable them to hire Christopher Brazee to complete the National Register nomination, for the proposed Myrtle Avenue-Fresh Pond Road Historic District in Ridgewood, which consist of approximately 440 buildings.

This project builds upon a 2018 Preserve New York-funded survey.

This year’s Preserve New York grant panel selected 19 applicants in 15 counties, including Kings and Richmond counties, to receive support totaling $193,390.

Many of these grants will lead to historic district designation or expansion, allowing property owners to take advantage of the New York State and Federal Historic Tax Credits. With the announcement of the 2020 awards, support provided by Preserve New York since its launch in 1993 totals more than $3 million to 457 projects statewide.

For decades, Preserve New York’s grant program has provided funds to municipalities and nonprofit organizations that need technical, professional assistance to guide a variety of preservation projects. The historic structure reports, building condition reports, cultural landscape reports and cultural resource surveys that are funded through this program can have profound impacts on the sites they are studying.

“Our longtime partnership with NYSCA has enabled us to support preservation initiatives in all of New York’s 62 counties,” said Erin Tobin, vice president for Policy and Preservation and the Preservation League. “This year’s group of Preserve New York grant recipients continues the successful track record of this program of enabling preservation to thrive in every corner of the state.”

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