Press-Republican

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September 25, 2012

Renovation roadblocks

KEESEVILLE — It has been a struggle, Barbara Davidson says, to renovate the former Turner Drugstore here.

“Tax credits are all well and good, but I have run into problems,” she said. “It has been my experience that if you aren’t a nonprofit, if you are a private citizen, then your personal income counts toward qualifying. On the other hand, you have to have enough money to do what is required with the tax credit. 

“It’s a real problem.”

Davidson was among 25 people from near and far who attended the recent workshop “Enhancing Main Street: Making Upper Floors Work Again,” held at the renovated AuSable Valley Grange in Keeseville.

Turner said the building on Front Street will have three huge storefronts on the ground floor and seven apartments on the second. The original walls are lath and plaster with a lot of cracks. If code demands replacing wiring and plumbing, which, in turn, requires taking all the lath and plaster down, how can that be replaced? She wondered where to find someone who could do the work and dreaded the exorbitant cost of having it done. 

She also asked whether original windows should be restored or replaced.

Willem Monster, managing director of the Sacandaga Station Project in Sacandaga Park, Fulton County, has been involved with restoration and re-use of the historic train depot there, built in 1920. He pointed out that there can be problems but they have to be worked out.

“When you are looking at starting a project, that restoration must work to pay for itself,” he said. “That payoff can come in many ways. 

“One project can convert an entire neighborhood.”

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