There was a community forum at the George Eastman Museum Wednesday night to provide local residents more details about the latest restoration efforts at the historic East Avenue mansion.
The next phase of the project involves the completion of the colonnade restoration that began in 2014. The colonnade is the glass enclosed pathway that runs along the west garden. Museum director Bruce Barnes says this is the most important and most expensive part of the project to date.
"It's in urgent need of repair,” he said. “The roof, the structure of the floor, the windows are no longer water-tight or air-tight. There's some structural sagging of the roof itself."
The museum is seeking a state preservation grant to fund part of the estimated $1.3 million cost of the latest stage of the restoration. Private donations have also been made. Work on the colonnade is expected to begin in the summer of 2019 and will temporarily limit access to the Dryden Theatre in between the Jewish Film Festival and the Image Out Festival.
The renovations began in 2014 with the restoration of the mansion’s conservatory roof and porte cochere. Just a few weeks ago, work on the east porch was completed.
"It's quite visible,” said Barnes. “The things that people used to notice when they would come where things looked like they weren't being taken care of now look like they're being appropriately being taken care of."
Barnes said the purpose of Wednesday's forum was to keep neighbors and other city residents up to date on the latest plans and to enlist their help so they will contact their state representatives and urge them to support funding for the project.
The museum will request a $450,000 grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. Other funding was raised through private donations.