State Funding Obtained For Long Homestead Work

December 30, 2003

Assemblyman Schimminger, Historical Society of the Tonawandas President Jay Holler and City of Tonawanda Mayor Jack Gallagher examine one of the aging, damaged windows at Tonawanda’s 174-year-old Long Homestead that will be replaced through a legislative grant secured by the Assemblyman.

Assemblyman Robin Schimminger announced today that he has secured state legislative funding for urgently needed improvements at the historic Long Homestead in the City of Tonawanda. Schimminger unveiled the good news during a site visit with Tonawanda Mayor Jack Gallagher and Jay Holler, President of the Board of Trustees of the Historical Society of the Tonawandas.

"Earlier this year, Mayor Gallagher contacted me and requested my assistance in providing state funding to help replace deteriorated windows at the Long Homestead," said Assemblyman Schimminger. "I’m pleased to be able to bring home from Albany $24,500 in Assembly funding to help the city preserve this community treasure, which is the oldest building in Tonawanda."

Schimminger noted that the city owns and maintains the 174-year-old structure and adjacent grounds, while the Historical Society of the Tonawandas operates the facility on the banks of the Erie Canal as a history museum depicting life in the Twin Cities during their early canal-town days.

The state grant, which Schimminger garnered from discretionary legislative funds contained in the 2003-04 state budget, will be used to replace damaged and worn-out windows with new, energy-efficient ones constructed in the original historic design. The city will provide additional funds toward purchase of the windows. "Several of the windows have been blown in recently and, despite emergency repairs, are not fully secure against the elements," Schimminger explained. "There’s concern that another year’s worth of wind, rain, snow and ice could seriously affect the structural integrity of this landmark wooden building."

"The Long Homestead stands in a ‘state of emergency’ as far as the windows are concerned, and without this assistance from Assemblyman Schimminger I hesitate to think of what could happen to this historic treasure over the coming months. Winter winds have already caused some of the windows to be blown out of their frames, and the worst of winter is yet to come with no winterization measures in the structure," said Mayor Gallagher.

"With the increasing tourism and canal-related activities, the Homestead is on the threshold of making another debut as an historical attraction," continued the Mayor. "I would be saddened to see one of our main tourism sites go to ruin at a time when tourism is on the rise. Replacing these windows is critical to the preservation of this structure and Assemblyman Schimminger has listened to the city’s plea for assistance. He can take pride in knowing that he is responsible for helping to save Tonawanda’s oldest structure and an important piece of our history. On behalf of the Historical Society and the city, I say ‘Thank you!’ to our Assemblyman."

"The Historical Society is pleased with this funding from Assemblyman Schimminger which will provide for these necessary repairs to the Long Homestead. This historic building is a key piece of our community’s efforts to preserve and market the wonderful heritage of the Tonawandas," said Mr. Holler.

"As a Tonawanda native, I am especially excited to work with the city and the Historical Society to help preserve the Long Homestead as an important part of our community’s heritage for many years to come," concluded Schimminger. "And, situated alongside the state-funded Erie Canal Gateway Park, it will play an increasingly important role as a tourist attraction in the Twin Cities as canal-related tourism and economic development plans come to fruition. I’m glad that I’ve been able to aid the city on this important local project by bringing to bear my experience and seniority as a key member of the Assembly Majority in obtaining these funds."