|Seven to Save Six Months Later|
|October 11, 2012||East Aurora Advertiser, by Betsy Wallace|
The Preservation League of New York State has highlighted New York's most threatened, historic resources through its Seven to Save list since 1999. Last April, Knox Farm State Park, in its entirety, was designated as one of New York State's Seven to Save sites. Since that announcement, the Friends of Knox Farm State Park, Inc., who spear-headed the Seven to Save application that resulted in this statewide designation, formed a Seven to Save Committee which partners with the League's Western New York representative, Tania Werbizky, Regional Director of Technical and Grant Programs. The shared goal of Friends and the Preservation League is to collaborate with the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP) to draw attention to the historic value of the buildings and garner public and private support for their restoration and appropriate reuse.
The Seven to Save Committee has researched the history of about 20 buildings and structures, done a preliminary review of building conditions and examined the potential of each building for future uses that would benefit the public. From these efforts, the committee can give highly focused attention to the buildings that show the greatest promise of reuse at this time.
In July, legislation was fostered by the Preservation League which was eventually signed by Governor Cuomo for the benefit of Knox Farm State Park. That legislation changed the period that a private entity could lease and reuse a building from 20 years to 40 years. This new legislation will hopefully provide a new incentive for prospective lessees to lease and rehabilitate the buildings in Knox Farm State Park.
The Friends have recently signed an agreement with the NYSOPRHP that enables the group to lease the 1917 main house, the former home of the Knox family, in the park for gatherings. Proceeds from their BPO/Tapas on the Terrace fund-raiser and assistance from volunteers will help the Friends to make repairs within the house in order to prepare it for rentals. Proceeds from house rentals will be used to restore the house and, ultimately, help to restore some of the other buildings in the park. The main house, with its gracious setting, inviting main rooms, beautiful park land vistas and ample parking, is especially appropriate for meetings, retreats, receptions and other celebrations that benefit from a quiet but easily accessed location.
On September 25, the Friends, the Preservation League and Preservation Buffalo Niagara sponsored the first ever architectural tour of the buildings in the park, as a part of the Preservation Plus Conference. That conference was focused at fostering a greater understanding and appreciation for Western New York's historic, built environment. According to Tania Werbizky, "participants of the Knox tour had a special, behind the scenes look at Knox Farm State Park's remarkable range of buildings, from the magnificent Polo Stable designed by famed Buffalo architect Harvey Staring Horton, to barns that date from the 1860s through the 1940s. Given the positive response, I'm sure that there will be future tours".
Tom Yots, Executive Director of Preservation Buffalo Niagara, who took the tour, agrees. Mr. Yots has said, "visiting Knox Farm was not only one of the exciting parts of our Preservation Plus Conference but, for me, it was also an eye opening, in-depth experience with this remarkable, regional resource. Given by people who lived and worked at one time in all of the buildings on the vast estate, the tour was both informative and imaginative." The tour guide, prepared especially for the event, contains a narrative which includes the history of the buildings in the park. It can be downloaded from the Friends' website: www.friendsofknoxfarmstatepark.org.
One of the most important goals of the Seven to Save Committee is to raise awareness of the historic value of the buildings and the surrounding landscapes in the park. The committee is hoping that recognition of value of the buildings and the park as a whole will garner much needed private and public funding to restore the buildings and promote sustainability plans. According to Tania Werbizky, "Overall, the majority of buildings appear to be in good condition but do require action to address some deferred maintenance, understandable given tight state budgets. With new thinking about community needs and the opportunities that this collection of buildings can provide, Knox Farm State Park can rightly take is place with other area landmark properties including Graycliff and the Darwin D. Martin House and reinforce cultural tourism as an economic engine for the region and the state. Each of these cultural treasures has a unique story to tell yet are related by virtue of the original owners, architects and landscape designers. National and international travelers will want to visit each place for experiences not duplicated elsewhere. That is why the Preservation League is excited that more people are discovering the buildings at Knox Farm State Park and asking 'what are they about; how can I visit them and learn more?'"
Seymour Knox IV, President of the Friends' Board, has commented that "I am thankful for the Preservation League's considerable support which has helped to emphasize the historical significance of the buildings in Knox Farm State Park."
Jay DiLorenzo, the President of the Preservation League of New York State will continue the discussion of Knox Farm State Park's listing in the Seven to Save program when he appears as the guest speaker at the Friends of Knox State Park's Annual Meeting on October 23, 2012. That event will take place at 6pm in the Main House in Knox Farm State Park. The Tantalus Restaurant will cater a light meal. There will be an open bar with beer and wine. Attendance my be charged online at http://www.friendsofknoxpark.org. ($30/Friends members; $35/non-members).
|KNOX PARK NAMED ONE OF SEVEN TO SAVE|
|April 19, 2012|
Knox Farm State Park has been designated as one of New York States' "Seven to Save" Endangered Properties by the New York State Preservation League. The official announcement took place on April 19 at the main house in the park.
The Preservation League has highlighted New York's most threatened historic resources through its Seven to Save list since 1999. Seven to Save has mobilized community leaders and decision-makers to take action when historic resources are threatened. A Seven to Save designation from the League delivers invaluable techical assistance, fosters increased media coverage and public awareness, and opens the door to grant assistance for endangered properties. This year's list includes four sites in and around New York City along with sites in three Upstate and Western New York Communities.
Representatives from the media, the Friends Board of Directors, the Friends Membership, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Hisoric Preservation, select politicians and others attended. Tania Werbizky, Seymour Knox IV, Jolene Jeffe and Catherine Schweitzer each spoke at the event.
|Partnerships Try to Keep Threatened State Parks Open|
|October 24, 2011||by Hadley Malcolm, USA TODAY|
Susan Lynn has been walking almost 5 miles in California's Benicia State Recreation Area every day for 25 years.
"It's an amazing place to be when the sun comes up over the water," Lynn says of her hike along Southhampton Bay. "It's such a good way to start your day."By next summer, Lynn may not be starting her days there. Along with the Benicia Capitol State Historic Park, the recreation area is on a list of 70 of California's 278 state parks slated to close by July. READ MORE
|New Friends of Knox Farm State Park Inc. Members|
|October 15, 2011|
Thank you to all of our existing members, members who have renewed their membership in the Friends of Knox Farm State Park, Inc. There are currently 160 member of our group. We welcome feedback from all of you regarding ideas for park usage. You may contact us via our contact link on this website. Also, thank you to all of you who joined us at our annual meeting.
|PARKS COMMISSIONER SPEAKS AT KNOX FARM|
|October 12, 2011||by Adam Zaremski, East Aurora Advertiser|
The Friends of Knox Farm State Park hosted new York State Commission of Parks, rose H. Harvey at its annual meeting last week, where members heard the commissioner speak about the general outlook of New York State's public park system. Read more.
|High Winds At The Park|
|April 28, 2011|
Wild winds as high as 83 mph have whipped up problems across the Buffalo Niagara region today, downing power lines and trees, leaving thousands of residents without power and closing the Lewiston-Queenston Bridge.
At Knox Farm State Park the door blew off of the large barn. Park authorities are aware of the situation. Below is a picture of two geese helping their young to navigate across the wind blown waters of the pond in the park.
|EXCERPT FROM A LETTER FROM ROSE HARVEY
Commissioner of New York State Parks
|April 1, 2011|
Knox Farm State Park. In February, OPRHP signed an agreement with the Town of Aurora authorizing the Town to plow roads and parking lots and take other steps to provide public access to the park for winter activities such as cross-countryskiing, snowshoeing, and walking (the agreement runs through April). Looking forward to the summer season, the park's parking lots and roads will be open, we will continue to mow the grounds (at a lesser level), and the public will be able to enter and use the park for passive recreation. We plan to continue an existing agreement with the Town of Aurora under which the town will operate the soccer fields located in the park, and discussions are underway to evaluate whether the town can also operate the park's equestrian and polo area. Finally, we have told the Friends of Knox Farm State Park Inc. that we are open to considering any proposals they may have for the Friends to contribute to the park's management. In sum, while Knox Farm State Park's buildings will be closed and service levels reduced, the park's grounds will be available to the public under a more passive management approach. Rose Harvey letter