Uptown Theatre recommended for historic register

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UTICA — The New York State Board for Historic Preservation has recommended that the Uptown Theatre in Utica be placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

The theater, at 2014 Genesee St. in Utica, opened in 1927 as a single-screen motion picture venue with 1,500 seats.

According to the state preservation board, the neighborhood theater continued to show movies until 2012, making it Utica’s longest running movie theater. Two commercial storefronts in the building, which continue in operation today, accommodated a variety of small business operations over a long period of time, including a soda shop, bank, bakery, antiques store, and jewelry store.

The theater is being renovated and is being used as a performing arts venue by a non-profit organization called the Uptown Theatre for Creative Arts, led by Devin Mahoney, a native of the south Utica neighborhood. In addition to performances, it hosts performing-arts workshops and classes and related events, such as a regular comedy improvisation night.

The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects, and sites significant in the history, architecture, archaeology and culture of New York State and the nation. There are more than 120,000 historic properties throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.

Once the recommendations are approved by the preservation agency’s commissioner, who serves as the state historic preservation officer, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.

Listing on the historic registers can assist property owners in revitalizing buildings, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. Since the governor signed legislation to bolster the state’s use of rehabilitation tax credits in 2013, the state and federal program has spurred major investment of historic commercial properties and owner-occupied historic homes.

The Uptown was the only Mohawk Valley site on the agency’s recommendations. Others are: Cerny’s Bakery, Bohemia, Long Island; Al Held Home and Studio, Boiceville, Hudson Valley; De Meyer-Burhans-Felten Farm, Ulster, Hudson Valley; Deyo-DuBois House, Highland, Hudson Valley; Hardenbergh-Jenkins Farm in the Hudson Valley; Hopewell Junction Depot, Hopewell Junction, Hudson Valley; South Bay Mill, Hudson, Hudson Valley; Bay Ridge Reformed Church, Brooklyn; Rugby Congregational Church, Brooklyn; and the
University Heights-Summit Park-Berkshire Terrace Historic District in Buffalo.

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