GENEVA — The first step is done: The Friends of Parrott Hall and the city have keys to the historic building, nearly razed last year by the state because of its deteriorating condition.
That was in June. Fast forward to October, and work to temporarily patch the first building on the campus of Cornell AgriTech at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station has yet to begin.
Officials say that work — and additional rehabilitation — is not off.
Erin Tobin, vice president for policy and preservation for the Preservation League of New York State, said an update on the project is coming “very soon.”
The city and the Friends of Parrott Hall got the keys after the city agreed to a licensing agreement with the building’s owner, the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The agreement allows the coalition — including Friends of Parrott Hall, the Preservation League of New York and the Landmark Society of Western New York — to coordinate repairs.
To that end, the city was awarded $400,000 to stabilize and remediate the historic structure, which state officials say has a significant amount of asbestos that needs to be removed.
Tobin said additional funds — including private sources — have been secured and that the Landmark Society is also contributing money to the project. Those details will be outlined in the near future, she said.
“Projects like this require all levels and layers of funding,” she said.
“The building looks great,” Tobin said Tuesday. “It’s in remarkably good condition. “We’re working with consultants who are advising us on how best to make the repairs.”
The first step, though, is the short-term roof fix, said Tobin, explaining the patch will go far beyond laying down tarp.
“We hope it’s going to get started very soon,” she said.
Neither Bruce Reisch, one of the leaders of Friends of Parrott Hall, nor City Manager Sage Gerling could be reached for comment Tuesday.
Parrott Hall, on the state and national registers of historic places, was almost demolished last year because the state believed the cost of repairing the building was too great.
Cornell vacated the building in 1970, and it was turned over to the state five years later for the express purpose of becoming a state historic site, which never happened.
The building deteriorated significantly after more than four decades of neglect under state ownership.
Friends of Parrott Hall want to redevelop it into a modern agriculture and food science education center.