The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

March 22, 2013

Grant to give a new look

By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register

Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — Patricia Worrad likes to look out the windows of her refurbished double-door entryway, where the view of First Baptist Church allows her to fantasize that she’s been transported from Medina to the stone cathedrals of Europe.

Worrad has made the interiors of the Bigelow House into a beautiful and warmly historic setting. In the past eight years, she has painted every room inside and added touches like a crystal chandelier in the entranceway.

But she’s less enchanted with the view looking back at her home from across the street. The Bigelow House, which was given local landmark status by the village last year, has been in desperate need of exterior improvements.

Worrad plans to replace missing shingles on her roof and repair, seal and paint her home’s wood siding and the exterior of the property’s barn with the funding she was awarded last month as part of a new privately-funded grant program.

“I was very happy to hear about the grant ... I’m trying to come up with something creative, along the Victorian line of thinking with colors similar to what I have,” Worrad said. “It will look neat and clean.”

The historic West Center Street house is one of many village residences that will see exterior renovations this summer thanks to the $200,000 pilot program, which is being administered by the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber Interim Executive Director Kathy Blackburn said the grant is aimed at making the village’s historic but declining buildings back into the assets they once were. Doing so helps both young investors looking to improve their community and longtime residents hoping to maintain their beloved homes.

“One applicant said it was the difference between them selling or staying in their home,” Blackburn said. “It feels so good to hear stories that touch your heart and then help people of all walks of life.”

More than 60 applications have been submitted for funding, with $150,000 awarded last month and another $50,000 to be awarded next week. Each project is funded halfway by the property owner, with the Chamber reimbursing contractors for the other half.

Blackburn said project’s like Worrad’s will begin soon and be completed by this fall, when the overall program will be reviewed and likely extended for another year.

“I can’t wait to see how these buildings look in a few months,” Blackburn said.