Register grows by five

Clifton Park is slated to have five new structures added to its register of historic places: three historic Jonesville homes, a brick house in Clifton Park Center and the Jonesville United Methodist Church, which still holds services on Main Street in Jonesville.

The town's register is operated separately from the National and State Registers of Historic Places, though buildings are selected according to the same criteria. The exterior architecture must be an unadulterated, intact example of a certain time period; any association with historical people or events is taken into consideration; and the structure's role in the community is also weighed in.

The Jonesville Methodist Church was a community landmark for many years, and it continues to operate today. The current structure was erected in 1855 to replace the original building, built in 1826 but moved across the road to serve as a dormitory for Jonesville Academy. In the late 1950s some architectural renovations were made and the interior floor was raised.

This would disqualify the church by some interpretations, but according to Town Historian John Scherer, the church's importance and overall appearance warrants its acceptance to the register.

This played such an important role in the community, and from the exterior it looks pretty authentic, he said.

The town has 33 structures on its register, not including the five being processed now), and it's up to the town volunteer Historic Preservation Committee to recommend the places and work to preserve them.

"The Town of Clifton Park has a very unique program that most places in the country don't have," said Mark Kazmierczak, chairman of the committee. "People with historic homes and churches can apply for a historic preservation easement."

That easement can grant home and business owners a tax break in return for agreeing to maintain the exterior of the building. Not only does that help with the higher maintenance costs generally associated with historic homes, it encourages residents to retain the historic atmosphere in their community.

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