July 2018: Demolition delayed; Parrott Hall coalition to raise funds to save Parrott Hall; Close cooperation with the city of Geneva

It has been two weeks since Jan Nyrop circulated his memo announcing that demolition of Parrott Hall would commence the week of June 25.  The building still stands, but we are definitely not out of the woods.  This message is to inform you that negotiations between Parks and the coalition are taking place to allow the coalition the chance to stabilize Parrott Hall and create a plan for future use.  

During the ensuing two weeks there have been multiple face-to-face meetings and conference calls.  Parks has suspended temporarily their plans to demolish Parrott Hall, but they have very specific concerns about how we can move forward to mitigate, stabilize, and develop a plan for Parrott Hall’s restoration and utilization.  In the meantime, the coalition, which consists of Friends of Parrott Hall (FPH), the Landmark Society of Western NY, and the Preservation League of NY, Geneva Historical Society and the Ontario County Historical Society have been working hard to address those concerns.  The City of Geneva has been assisting in an advisory capacity.

The FPH Board of Directors met on June 25 when they affirmed their intent to move forward with efforts to save PH.  They also created a Fundraising Committee, led by Kerry Lippincott and Herb Aldwinckle, and a Grant Writing Committee, led by Robert Seem.  Fundraising is rather obvious, but the grant writing became important in our discussion with Parks because they will provide no funds.  Simultaneously, they encouraged us to seek a particular state grant, which has a deadline of July 27, 2018.  The grant also requires a match, hence the work of the Fundraising Committee becomes extremely important.

Because FPH has no track record in seeking grants or undertaking large projects, the coalition has asked if the City of Geneva would be willing to be the lead agency of record.  The hitch is that the city does not want to commit any non-reimbursable funds to the effort.  We understand this position and feel we still want the city as a partner.  The involvement of the city will be presented at the next Council meeting on July 11, 2018.  Parks, the coalition and the city will meet with Jan Nyrop on July 12, 2018, to secure Cornell’s engagement.  More meetings are already scheduled.  Suffice it to say, things are moving at a light-speed pace.

What can our Friends do?  Your engagement is more critical than ever.  If you have been considering a gift to FPH, now is the best time to show that support.  Although FPH has received its federal tax exemption, the certificate has been lost in the mail.  To make a tax deductible gift, send checks made out to the Geneva Historical Society with a memo note stating Friends of Parrott Hall. More details are available at www.friendsofparrotthall.org.  Also, if you know individuals or organizations who would support our mission, please share contact information with Herb Aldwinckle (hsa1@cornell.edu).