WXXI AM News

Landmark Society announces 2019 'Five to Revive' sites

Oct 16, 2019

The Landmark Society of Western New York announced the 2019 Five to Revive on Wednesday.

The list highlights buildings and structures that the organization has identified as strategic opportunities for revival.

Executive Director Wayne Goodman says the organization is highlighting historical houses of worship this year. Or more exactly, adaptive use of places of worship.

Wayne Goodman with the Landmark Society of Western NY presents the "Five to Revive" at the Historic Parsells Church in Rochester.
Credit Noelle E. C. Evans / WXXI News

“We see, I think, an alarming trend that continues across western New York and specifically the city of Rochester and that is dwindling congregations, lower funding capacity,” Goodman says.

The organization states that from 1991 to today, almost 20 percent more U.S. residents claim no formal religious identity.

To preserve historical houses of worship, the Landmark Society suggests that congregations and religious entities work creatively with other partners to revive the buildings. This, Goodman says, will help revive the surrounding area.

“Anytime that these large congregational buildings can be revitalized, it’s only going to have a ... positive impact on the surrounding neighborhood and district,” he says.

The list also includes reservoirs at Cobbs Hill Park and Highland Park; a residential building in the Susan B. Anthony neighborhood that’s been vacant for over 20 years; the hamlet of Childs in Gaines, Orleans County; and a former seminary in Dansville.

“Our organization feels like that it’s not the solution, but it’s part of the solution, is to really bring back and revitalize the buildings and the structures, particularly the historic structures that provide anchors to these neighborhoods,” Goodman says.

“There’s obviously many more properties in need than simply these five,” he adds.