EZ Grants

Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone

Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Hebrew Tabernacle in Washington Heights
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Hebrew Tabernacle Before
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Hebrew Tabernacle After
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Hebrew Tabernacle After
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Hebrew Tabernacle Before
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Hebrew Tabernacle - new roof drain awaiting cap
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Hebrew Tabernacle - Multiple Layers of Roofing
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Hebrew Tabernacle After
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Mt. Olivet Before
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Mt. Olivet During
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Mt. Olivet After
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
Final Grants Conclude Partnership With Empowerment Zone
-Mt. Olivet After

July 2015

This month, Hebrew Tabernacle in Washington Heights, an Art Deco synagogue originally constructed as a Christian Science Church, marked the successful completion of an $80,000 roof replacement and parapet waterproofing project. This May, Mount Olivet Baptist Church, a Classical Revival Harlem church originally constructed as a synagogue, celebrated the $110,000 restoration of its monumental stained glass lay lights, now returned to their original golden glow, and the replacement of the leaking skylight above them.

These were the final two of seven EZ-grant projects funded via a $300,000 program capitalized by the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ) and administered by the Conservancy between 2006 and 2015. EZ (Empowerment Zone) Grants of up to $50,000 per project funded professional services and capital restoration costs for preserving religious properties of architectural, historic, and cultural merit in Upper Manhattan.

The grants were an ancillary program to a $4 million preservation fund created by the Empowerment Zone in 1999 and administered by the Conservancy. Through the fund, the only one of its kind in the country, the Conservancy made loans and interest free grants to 32 historic religious and cultural institutions throughout Harlem for restoration projects.

The EZ-grants were designed to help kick-start critically needed deferred maintenance projects at historic or landmark-eligible Upper Manhattan religious properties that had not otherwise been able to match Conservancy grants or secure Conservancy loans. The EZ grants were designed to facilitate model repair and restoration projects: feasible, affordable, phased repair that can be replicated by the institutions going forward. The EZ grants funded initial conditions assessments, or project management services, while also providing initial funds to actually implement repairs, without stipulating a grant match.

Hebrew Tabernacle, constructed in 1931-1932, features a central dome with multiple levels of set-back roofs with decorative masonry parapets. Multiple layers of roofing were applied over the last 80 years to nine separate difficult-to-access roofs, and limestone copings at parapets lacked adequate flashing. (more on this project)

An EZ-grant of $50,000 funded both project management by preservation consultant Mary Kay Judy, and a substantial portion of a Phase I, priority roofing and flashing project by contractor Sleszynski Corp., including asbestos abatement, removal of multiple layers of failed roofing, and the installation of new, durable Kemper roofing at one of the nine set-back roofs. A Conservancy Jewish Heritage Fund grant and the congregation met the balance of project costs.

At the 1906-1907 Mt. Olivet Baptist church, designed by Arnold Brunner in the Beaux Arts style for Temple Israel, and where Mt. Olivet Baptist has served the Harlem community since 1925, an EZ-grant of $42,000 funded both assessment and restoration project management by roofing consultant Russ Watsky, and a portion of the $118,000 skylight and stained glass restoration. Originally, budget constraints forced us to consider temporary removal and storage of the stained glass lay lights, but the congregation worried that if removed, they might never be reinstalled, and committed to raise the balance needed to ensure restoration and reinstallation of the gold-tinted stained glass panels at the sanctuary ceiling. Watsky developed a cost effective way to use multiple pre-manufactured skylights to replace the original, badly corroded and leaking metal skylight. General contractor J. Salvatore & Sons installed the new skylights, while the stained glass was restored and reinstalled by the Clagnan Stained Glass Studio.

EZ-grant projects offered support to Upper Manhattan congregations catching up on years of deferred maintenance. The EZ grants facilitated hands on project management: the Conservancy recommended, and funded, the work of architects, preservation consultants, and construction managers, along with a substantial grant towards initial implementation of repairs. At least one EZ grant paved the way for a much larger project, with additional matching grant assistance from the Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program. A $50,000 EZ-grant to St. Cecilia’s in 2010, to help fund façade and roof restoration plans and specifications by architect Arthur Sikula, (more info) was followed by a $30,000 Conservancy challenge grant for roof and façade restoration, a $200,000 New York State restoration grant, and substantial parish and Archdiocese support, as the project has grown from $1.2 to over $2 million, including a new copper roof, extensive brick and terra cotta façade restoration, gable structural repairs, and window restoration. Construction began in 2014 and is nearly complete.

Other EZ grants over the last decade have funded construction management by preservation consultant Ed Kamper and portico roof repair and restoration at the landmark Harlem Italianate villa owned by the Christ Temple of the Apostolic Faith; roof assessment by Judy and repair by Sleszynski at the landmark Metropolitan Baptist Church (more info); and two conditions assessments by CTA Architects, for Mt. Neboh Baptist Church (more info), and for Mount Zion A.M.E. Church. (more info)