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Poloncarz, Marinelli announce $500,000 in county funding

Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Erie County Legislator Lynn M. Marinelli (D-Buffalo, Tonawanda), John N. Walsh, III, President of the Martin House Restoration Corporation, and other corporation members announcing recently-approved capital funding supporting the Darwin Martin House restoration.

The $500,000 in funding supplied by Erie County will be used for restoration of interior woodwork at the Frank Lloyd Wright-built masterpiece.

“The ongoing restoration of the Darwin Martin House is an investment in the future of Erie County, as this one-of-a-kind architectural treasure continues to draw thousands of visitors to see its return to former glory,” said Poloncarz. “I want to thank the members of the Legislature who supported this funding, as well as the Martin House Restoration Corporation for their careful stewardship of this unique attraction. As I noted in my ‘Initiatives for a Smart Economy’ address, providing consistent public funding for arts and cultural institutions contributes not only to a better economy, but to a better quality of life as well.”

The new funding underscores Erie County’s continuing commitment to the preservation of the Martin House. Past capital funding, starting in 1996 and totaling $3.1 million, has assisted the Martin House Restoration Corporation in restoring the roofs of both the Martin and Barton houses at the complex and other ongoing restoration work, as well as the construction of the Eleanor and Wilson Greatbatch Pavilion, a visitor center designed by architect Toshiko Mori.

“The County Legislature acted smartly in recently approving $500,000 bond funding for the capital improvements of the Darwin Martin House, first through the Community Enrichment Committee, which I chair,” Marinelli said. “This funding will help continue the restoration of an architectural gem that not only reinforces its standing in our cultural history, but will continue to help provide an economic boost to Erie County through its vital place in our cultural tourism strategy, which gains momentum every day.”

In addition, since 2001 Erie County has awarded about $1.1 million in cultural funding to the Martin House through the Erie County Arts & Cultural Advisory Board (“Erie Arts Board”), and its predecessor, the since-dissolved Erie County Cultural Resources Advisory Board (“ECCRAB”). All organizations competing for county funding submit an application to the Erie Arts Board, whose members scrutinize each application to ensure financial support is allocated objectively and based on need and merit.

“In lavishing attention on the Frank Lloyd Wright legacy here at the Martin House, Erie County is doing something that only enlightened communities do,” Walsh said. “They are embracing history and creating a future for our citizens, mindful of our past, but sensitive to the pressing economic development realities of today.”

“We are committed to the successful completion of this wonderful community asset. It is among New York State’s most treasured destinations for visitors from around the world,” Mary F. Roberts, executive director of the Martin House Restoration Corporation, said. “Strategies to move tourism forward require collaboration and coordination. The County of Erie, led by County Executive Poloncarz, has demonstrated its commitment to the advancement of our region as a destination marketplace.”
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