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Buffalo welcomes preservation conference

Mayor Byron Brown opens the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference. Also (from l to r): Jay DiLorenzo, Preservation League of NY; Congressman Brian Higgins; Stephanie Meeks of the National Trust; Catherine Schweitzer, conference co-chair

An estimated 2,500 out-of-town visitors are in Buffalo attending the National Trust for Historic Preservation conference, which was formally launched at a news conference in Buffalo's City Hall on Wednesday morning. Officials at the National Trust for Historic Preservation believe their 65th annual gathering may set a new attendance record.

Buffalo leaders are looking forward to showing off the historic architectural and cultural gems still used, from public buildings to schools, to places of worship to neighborhood districts.

"While the conference is focused on bringing people to this great region, we also want people living in Buffalo to know that they are welcome and encouraged to attend the many tours and opportunities that will be provided through the wonderful conference that will be here in Buffalo," said Mayor Byron Brown.

Convention leaders joined the mayor in encouraging local residents to mingle with their guests and perhaps get some fresh ideas for local assets.

"Buffalo has world class architecture and world class solutions to showcase, and real world 21st Century issues," said Catherine Schweitzer, conference co-chair and National Trust Advisor for New York State. "We're looking for new eyes and new ideas to help our community build an even stronger city."

Congressman Brian Higgins, who helped welcome the convention to town, noted that many of Buffalo's architectural gems came from out-of-towners who had the same passion for architecture that today's conference-goers bring to Buffalo.

Higgins said, "People like Daniel Burnham, who came and designed the largest office building in the world at its time, the Ellicott Square Building.  Louis Sullivan, and the Guaranty Building.  Henry Hobson Richardson, and the New York State Insane Asylum at the Buffalo Psychiatric Center.  Frank Lloyd Wright... these folks weren't from Buffalo.  They came to Buffalo.  They came from places like the prestigious University of Chicago School of Architecture.  They came to a city like Buffalo because Buffalo exuded a confidence, an ability to get their vision turned into something real."

One of the convention's visitors brought gifts ... the Preservation League of New York State awarded cash grants to two Buffalo neighborhoods, Hamlin Park and Richmond-Ashland, to help these districts preserve their historic assets. 

"What they're going to do is help to establish state and national registered historic districts into Buffalo neighborhoods that will make nearly 2,000 properties eligible for the New York State rehabilitation tax credit program," said Jay DiLorenzo, president of  the Preservation League of New York State.

From now until Saturday, the conference will feature numerous workshops and tours.  A full schedule is available for download at the National Trust for Historic Preservation's website, www.preservationnation.org.



Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.