Members of a preservation group in Niagara Falls are continuing their efforts to preserve a Civil-War-era building at a state park. YNN's Antoinette DelBel has more on how officials are working together to figure out a long-term solution for the building's use.
NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. — More than a year after the rundown Carriage House at DeVeaux Woods State Park was taken off the demolition list, preservationists are ready to move forward with plans to restore and reuse the building.
Members of the Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Society met Wednesday to discuss different options. Some of the ideas - using it as a storage facility, or a warming house for the city's ice rink. Even the possibility of turning it into a community center was tossed around.
"It's one of those things that it's in a state park and could be a wonderful asset," said Mary Ann Rolland, the chairman of the Niagara Falls Historic Preservation Society.
The building dates back to 1863, and was originally an old brick barn and then a school for orphaned boys. Preservationists said its history alone should be enough to save it.
"You don't destroy national landmarks, and that building is designated as a national landmark," said Rolland.
"I believe that we've done a good job,” said Patricia Merino, a member of the preservation society. “Once we got going and once (NYS) Parks heard our voice and really listened to it."
State parks officials said they are working with the group.
"We have no plans to demolish it and we're working with the city and with this group in good faith to do what we can to preserve the building until a new use can be determined for it," said Angela Berti, the spokesperson for New York State Parks.
This week, New York State Parks crews are continuing repair work on the roof of the building and removing sharp shingles to secure a tarp - a request of the preservationists.
"The tarp will provide a barrier between the elements and the building itself,” said Berti. “We're hoping it'll keep some of the snow, the ice, the water and wind away from the building."
Preservationists and state parks officials said the building needs a lot of work, and with little funding in place, the preservation society is now looking into securing grants. They said that's something they hope to have available in the next couple of months.