Two Albany neighborhoods fight to protect history - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Two Albany neighborhoods fight to protect history

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January 24, 2005

Albany- People who live in two of Albany's oldest neighborhoods are worried about losing a part of history. They're joining forces to protect Albany's past for future generations. Several homes in the Rawson Circle and Palmyra Heights neighborhoods are already on the National Registry of Historic Places. Now the two neighborhoods are working together to get the area's homes designated historic.

Greg Fullerton's home in Rawson Circle is full of history from the double doors to the mantled fireplace.

"The Hinamen family actually built this and they lived in it for years, it's changed hands about three times," said Greg Fullerton, Homeowner.

It's a history he and his neighbors want to protect.

"We don't have too much history in Albany and we lost some of it in the 1950's and 60's and what we have left we want to try to preserve," said Fullerton.

So, neighbors in Rawson Circle and Palmyra Heights are joining together to consider becoming a historic district. It would include a seven by seven block area from Slappey to Phoebe Putney, from First to Seven Avenues.

"They all have special character, they're all unique, they have a history to tell from the many families or few families in some instances that have lived in each one of them," said Fullerton.

Neighbors will need to hire a consultant, but could benefit once the process is complete.

"Tax and grant incentives are part of the program. Commercial properties benefit greatly from a national registry districts," said Bill Blankenship, Historic Preservation Consultant.

In some cases it could freeze property taxes but overall it creates a sense of pride.

"It raises property values in many cases, it lends a need for neighborhoods to maintain their neighborhoods," said Blankenship.

Pride that residents hope will encourage property owners to maintain their homes and continue the tradition.

"This is a special house, it goes beyond us, this house will still be standing many years after were not around, we hope and trust that future families will enjoy it just as much as we have," said Fullerton.

The first step in the process is hiring the consultant and neighbors will get together at a later date to decide if that's what they want to do.

To even be consider for the National Registry a majority of the homes in a neighborhood must be at least 50 years old.

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