Landmark Society picks sites in Rochester, Naples, more in ‘Five to Revive’

Landmark Society designates ‘Five to Revive’

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Sites in Rochester, Naples, Warsaw, Macedon and Palmyra were among sites the Landmark Society of Western New York has identified as priorities for revitalization projects. Each year the Landmark Society makes five selections as “Five to Revive.”

This year’s “Five to Revive” are:

— The Vacuum Oil refinery campus in the city of Rochester. The Vacuum Oil Company was founded in 1866; the facility operated until about 1935 on 30-40 acres of land east on Exchange Street and both north and sound of Flint Street. Vacuum and Standard merged in 1959 to become Mobil Oil, which merged with Exxon in 1999; ExxonMobil and the city own portions of the campus. According to the Landmark Society, it is currently a brownfield site, with contaminated soil. The city has identified it as a Vacuum Oil Brownfield Opportunity Area as part of a state program that provides communities with expertise and assistance to revitalize neighborhoods. Potential re-uses could include mixed-use commercial and residential development (namely mixed-income and student housing) and the creation of parks, trails, and waterfront access for the community. According to the Landmark Society, there’s an implementation plan underway for the site’s development, though it’s unclear whether the factory and warehouse buildings can be rehabilitated.

— Naples Memorial Town Hall in Naples. The Italianate-style Naples memorial Town Hall as build between 1870 and 1872 to honor the more than 200 men from Naples who served in the Civil War. It was the center of the village and town of Naples’ social and recreational activities until World War Ii. Privately owned from 1942 to 1972 and used for commercial and light industrial purposes, it was reacquired by the town in 1972. These days it serves as a community and event center and host site for the Naples Grape Festival. It needs such repairs as a new roof and an elevator to make it accessible to disabled people.

— Palmyra-Macedon Aqueduct, in Macedon and Palmyra. The aqueduct, just west of the village of Palmyra and next to Erie Canal Lock 29, was built in 1857 to carry canal water over Ganargua Creek (also known as Mud Creek) in the town of Macedon. It was in service until 1918 and the opening of the Barge Canal. The aqueduct is now part of the Erie Canal Pathway; what’s left include a towpath bridge and stone supports for the wooden canal prism. Erosion caused by Ganargua Creek has threatened the stability of the west embankment. The state Canal Corporation says the aqueduct is one of only a handful of similar structures throughout the state canal system. Options could include rebuilding the embankment to stabilize the aqueduct in place, or relocate it to preserve it as a piece of history.

— Warsaw Park Street train depot. The depot was built in 1906 to accommodate passengers on the Buffalo, Rochester & Pittsburgh Railway (later the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad). The depot closed in 1953 when passenger train service was discontinued. It’s the last of three Warsaw depots that remain; it was used for storage for decades and is in deteriorated condition. It’s now owned by the Genesee & Wyoming Inc. Railroad. The Warsaw Historical Society would like to see it stabilized and moved to a new location.

— Grassroots preservation organizations. The society advocates for a Statewide Main Street program that engages communities in Western New York to address issues facing older and historic downtowns. It cites the work of Main Street America, which has helped over 2,000 communities across the country revitalize their downtowns.