Higgins secures $400k grant for repairs at the historic Richardson complex

Award will fund new roofs to preserve the integrity of four buildings — but no funding for Central Terminal repairs, yet. 

Congressman Brian Higgins joined staff and board members of the Richardson Olmsted Campus to celebrate the award of a $400,000 Save America’s Treasures grant. The federal funding will be used on roofing to stabilize and preserve the integrity of four buildings on the campus.

“The Richardson Olmsted Campus is one of Buffalo’s most iconic architectural masterpieces,” said Congressman Higgins. “The Richardson has seen an incredible transformation but there is work to be done to bring the entire site back to life. This grant recognizes the Richardson’s standing as a national treasure and seeks to preserve and restore this piece of Buffalo’s past and future.”

The award is provided through the “Save America’s Treasures” grant program, funded by the Historic Preservation Fund, and administered by the National Park Service, Department of Interior in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The program requires a commitment to dollar-for-dollar matching funding. The Richardson Olmsted Campus is one of just 41 preservation and conservation projects sharing $12.6 million nationwide this fiscal year.

“We are so grateful to the National Parks Service for this funding,” said Mark Mortenson, Executive Director of the Richardson Olmsted Campus. “It can be challenging to find support for major building improvements, but projects like roof repairs are absolutely critical to continue preserving buildings like ours. This funding will help us prevent further damage to these beautiful buildings and move forward with reuse.”

Mark Mortenson is the Executive Director of the Richardson Olmsted Campus.

The grant will be used to repair and replace asphalt shingle roofs on four buildings at the Richardson Olmsted Campus, preventing further deterioration. Total cost of the project is estimated to be $800,000.

In 2014, the Richardson Olmsted Campus received, and Congressman Higgins supported, $14.5 million in federal historic tax credits toward the first phase of renovations. Higgins also secured $200,000 in federal funding for the Richardson Olmsted Campus in the 2010 federal budget.

The Richardson Olmsted Campus earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and was named by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior as a National Historic Landmark in 1986.

About the Richardson Olmsted Campus

One of Buffalo’s most iconic buildings and a National Historic Landmark, the 145-year-old Richardson Olmsted Campus is being renewed after years of neglect.

Designed by great American architect Henry Hobson Richardson and the famed landscape team of Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the building incorporated a system of enlightened treatment for people with mental illness developed by Dr. Thomas Story Kirkbride.

Today, the Richardson Olmsted Campus is home to one of the largest historic preservation projects in the nation. Comprised of 13 buildings on 42 acres, the central Towers Building and one wing building on either side have been redeveloped as Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center and the future Lipsey Architecture Center Buffalo. Ten buildings and 25 acres are pending redevelopment.

East Side activists had hoped that Higgins would secure federal money to install new windows, plumbing, and lighting improvements at the Central Terminal.

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