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Cohoes Music Hall preservation effort receives more funding

Additional funding will go toward shoring up the Cohoes Music Hall.

New York Assemblymember John McDonald, who represents the 108th district, joined fellow Democrat City of Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler Thursday to announce that $500,000 in State and Municipal Facilities grant funding has been secured to support restoration of the historic Cohoes Music Hall and Visitors Center building, including portions of the distinct decorative Mansard roof.

McDonald served as mayor of Cohoes from 2000 to 2012.

“As a former mayor, I understand just like Mayor Keeler does, the importance of having strong vital arts in your downtown," said McDonald. "This isn't just about fixing the roof. It's about investing into continued growth under Mayor Keeler's leadership here in the city of Cohoes as our downtown continues its revitalization, as Cohoes continues to grow, being one of the few communities in the Capital Region that over the last two decades, has grown by over 7%. So I want to thank our Speaker Carl Heastie for his dedication and allowing me to present this check today.”

In late December Cohoes Music Hall was awarded $1.88 million in funding through New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation grants to preserve and transform it into an energy efficient building. City Director of Operations Theresa Bourgeois:

"The Cohoes Music Hall was first opened in 1874," said Bourgeois. "And then in 1906, it was closed again for a long time, but it reopened 100 years later in 1974, after the community came together to restore it."

McDonald notes this latest cash infusion will address a leaky roof. Water has slowly seeped in, resulting in damage to the hall's walls and ceiling.

“The money that the city secured to help replace some of the windows to great green, greater energy efficiency, it's all well and good," McDonald said. "But the reality is this, if you don't have a good roof, you're gonna have nothing but problems going on. So I think this is a great team effort from every aspect.”

Keeler says his administration has prioritized the preservation and restoration of the music hall, saying city grant writers have applied to every source of available funding for help. “…and they've been very successful," said Keeler. "Today's $500,000 grant for which we thank Assemblyman McDonald, will help us get started sooner rather than later. And this half a million dollars combined with other grants that we've received in recent weeks, it totals nearly $2.5 million. So we look forward to getting started. “

Roof repair is expected to begin as soon as possible.

Bourgeois says all of the restoration efforts are happening in conjunction with the Albany County city’s Municipal Floating Solar installation on its water reservoir.

Officials expect full restoration to be concluded by 2024 – the building's 150th anniversary.

Assemblymember John McDonald and Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler outside Cohoes Music Hall, January 5, 2023.
Dave Lucas
Assemblymember John McDonald and Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler outside Cohoes Music Hall, January 5, 2023.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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