Cohoes Music Hall to Receive State Funding for Anticipated Upgrades

COHOES – The Cohoes Music Hall and Visitors Center is well on its way to transforming into an energy-efficient, carbon-neutral building after the city was awarded $1.88 million in state funding.

“The NYSERDA Carbon Neutral grant and the OPRHP Heritage Area grant will be transformational for Cohoes as we work to preserve our historic Music Hall, protect the environment, save energy, and save money,” Mayor Bill Keeler said. “We thank Governor Kathy Hochul, NYSERDA President Doreen Harris and her staff, Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid his staff, and all those who are supporting our comprehensive Cleaner Greener Cohoes and Restore Historic Cohoes initiatives.”

The Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development grant for the “Historic Cohoes Music Hall Carbon Neutral Initiative” and the OPRHP Heritage Area grant for the Cohoes Music Hall Restoration Project were awarded as part of the 2022 Regional Economic Development Council Annual Consolidated Funding Application process.

Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, RPh said “This exciting initiative will reduce climate change-causing building emissions, save tax-payer dollars, and help preserve the historic Cohoes Music Hall. I am grateful to Governor Hochul, NYSERDA and OPRHP for their commitment to creating a cleaner, greener future for New Yorkers.”

Cohoes is working to restore and revitalize its historic buildings and to convert each “anchor” building – City Hall, the Music Hall/Visitors Center, and the Library – into energy efficient, carbon neutral buildings, in conjunction with its novel Cohoes Municipal Floating Solar installation on its water reservoir. In 2021 the city was awarded a NYSERDA Carbon Neutral Community Economic Development grant for City Hall.

“Cohoes is a working-class community committed to participating in the clean energy transition, but we do not have the resources to do it alone. NYSERDA and OPRHP are providing us with essential funding and technical assistance needed to enable our success. Our Music Hall preservation and clean energy transformation projects could become a model for other facilities, particularly those in designated disadvantaged communities like Cohoes for which these buildings are vital local and regional cultural and economic resources,” said Theresa Bourgeois, Cohoes Director of Operations.

The OPRHP Heritage Area grant will address critical preservation needs of the 1874 Cohoes Music Hall and Visitors Center building, which is a local and regional economic driver in the RiverSpark Heritage Area. The project will include vital structural, roofing, facade, and window restoration work.

The NYSERDA funding will be used for significant mechanical and building envelope upgrades that will result in a highly energy-efficient, all-electric facility. This historic restoration project will replace natural gas burning equipment with ground source heat pumps and variable refrigerant flow systems, and dedicated outdoor air systems for ventilation, insulation, lighting, and other energy efficiency measures, allowing the building to be carbon neutral.

“Installing city owned-and-operated Floating Solar on the Cohoes Water Reservoir will allow us to generate 100% of our municipal facilities’ energy demand from clean energy, but that is only half the equation. These NYSERDA Carbon Neutral grants make it possible for us to convert the systems in our historic city buildings to electric and make them more energy efficient. This will significantly lower the city’s annual energy bill, and that savings can be reinvested back into the community,” said Cohoes City Planner Joe Seman-Graves.

The $2.3-millon Carbon Neutral project and the $1.3 million Heritage Area preservation project are also being supported by funds from the city’s “Historic Cleaner Greener Cohoes” Bond initiative, approved by the Cohoes Common Council in April, 2021. The city is continuing to pursue additional government, foundation, and philanthropic support for its comprehensive preservation and clean energy agenda.

Originally Published on TheSpot 518, used with permission.

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