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Historic Ithaca and the City of Ithaca have received a $367,000 New York State grant for exterior restoration of the Cascadilla Boathouse in Ithaca's Stewart Park.

Announced in December 2018, the funds were awarded from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation/Historic Preservation Development program as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo's highly competitive Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Initiative. The Cascadilla Boathouse grant was one of 101 projects funded to the tune of more than $65 million through the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council; nineteen Tompkins County cultural, economic, and quality-of-life projects received more than $4 million in REDC grants.

Historic Ithaca spearheaded the grant application process to restore the Cascadilla Boathouse, a cherished local landmark in use since 1896 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The exterior rehabilitation work builds on previous efforts by the Friends of Stewart Park, Wharton Studio Museum, and the City of Ithaca to maintain the structure and beautify the lakeside park for residents and visitors. "This is an important step forward for restoring the Boathouse and for our broader park revitalization effort," notes Friends of Stewart Park Executive Director Rick Manning. "It is a testament to the importance of the partnership between FSP, the City, and now Historic Ithaca."

That partnership will leverage the distinctive skills of the organizations and the city and magnify the impact of their work. "I am thrilled that Historic Ithaca was successful with the grant application for the Cascadilla Boathouse," says Tim Logue, City of Ithaca's Director of Engineering Services. "With this grant and the partnership with Historic Ithaca, our community will be able to nearly quadruple what the City was able to do alone. Also, the partnership with Historic Ithaca will relieve the burden on City staff for grant administration and ensure that the work is done with best practices in historic preservation."

The grant will help fund restoration of the landmark's Shingle-style architectural elements designed by the local architectural firm of Vivian & Gibb at the turn of the last century and will make the building weathertight and attractive. Restoration will include improvements to windows, doors, and trim, as well as exterior siding. A design study has already been completed that will guide the restoration. The grant, explains Logue, "will allow us to address all the building envelope concerns and significantly protect the building for the long term."

The structure currently houses the Cascadilla Boat Club, a non-profit organization that provides rowing classes and trains crew teams. The Club leases the premises from the city, and the restoration, while seasonal, should not impact their operations.

Look for ongoing updates as the restoration proceeds in 2019! This is a big step forward to enhancing the entire park. "The building is a true treasure on the waterfront," concludes Logue, "and this investment is truly needed for the next generation."

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