New Paltz business owners receive Partners in Preservation awards

Last week the Historic Preservation Commission of the Village of New Paltz recognized Allen Ross and Andrew Willingham with their 2020 Partners in Preservation awards. (Photo by Lauren Thomas)

Two local New Paltz business owners who depend upon buildings for their livelihoods have been honored for beautifying their own Main Street properties. Engineer Andy Willingham and architect Allen Ross, each with offices in a refurbished Main Street home, were given Partners in Preservation awards at the January 22 New Paltz Village Board meeting in New Paltz.

In conferring the awards, Historic preservation Commission chair Tom Olson described the purpose and history of the handsome plaques and touched upon some of the details Ross and Willingham included in their individual projects. The official duties of commission members include designating local landmarks, and this program is seen as a way to acknowledge property owners who haven’t taken that step, but have made clear efforts to beautify the buildings they own in a way that’s “significant to the quality of life” in the village, Olson explained. Past honorees have included Mike Beck for P&G’s, Mark Skillman for Fleet Service Center and Floyd Kniffen for his work on 27 South Chestnut Street.

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Ross’ work on 153 Main Street is “absolutely beautiful,” Olson said, calling attention to the wraparound porch as well as the bluestone steps and walk that improve the aesthetics while using local materials. “Modern life has to go on” in the old house, Olson said, and the sign Ross designed for his business “really blends well” despite being in a modern style.

The craftsman-style bungalow Willingham uses for his engineering firm at 183 Main Street is one of the few examples of this style in New Paltz, Olson said, and now “it’s one of the most beautifully preserved in town.” The chair called out the extensive effort put into landscaping around the building, including the walkway to the parking area.

Historic preservation Commission members Sue Wynn and Kamilla Nagy chair the subcommittee on the awards. Olson thanked them and other commission members for their continuing efforts, as well as heaping praise upon the two property owners for “setting the standard” for improvements to the New Paltz street-scape.

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