Funding to refurbish historic buildings sought

JOHNSTOWN – Officials recently decided to seek state funding to refurbish two of Fulton County government’s most historic buildings still being used today.

The Board of Supervisors’ Buildings and Grounds-Highway Committee decided to submit a 2013 state Consolidated Funding Application, or CFA, for grant funding to renovate the Fort Johnstown Annex – the county’s former Colonial jail; and the historic County Courthouse still used today. The full board will vote July 8 on the application.

“We’d like approval to at least apply for funding,” said county Administrative Officer Jon Stead. “This is just to get that grant application going.”

Both buildings are on the National Register of Historic Places.

The total estimated 2014 capital project cost for renovation of the buildings is $250,000. Costs would include: engineering – $15,000; construction -$207,000; and contingency – $28,000. The county could be reimbursed for up to 75 percent of the cost.

Stead said the Fort Johnstown Annex on East Montgomery Street has had problems with leaks. When those problems started, he said, he talked with county Planning Director James Mraz and county Superintendent of Highways and Facilities Mark Yost and it was determined state funding is available.

He said the courthouse, built in the 1700s in downtown Johnstown, also needs help. Stead said he suggested both historic locations be refurbished as future capital projects.

Work at the former jail building would include a new roof, repointing of mortar around stones, painting eaves and steel bars on windows, and office work such as striping paint to restore original brick, repairing exterior brick, new entrance door and replacing exterior lights. Courthouse work would include repainting exterior window casings, replacing front-entrance window pane, and staining and sealing front entry doors.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo in June announced the latest CFA program, for which applications are due Aug. 12.

According to Mraz, funding for the two historic buildings is available under the state’s Environmental Protection Fund Municipal Grant Program. Funding can go to improve and preserveproperties on the National Register of Historic Places.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at