New Rochelle is fortunate to have many neighborhoods defined by gracious, historic homes. But while century-old architecture can greatly enhance the character of an area, older houses can also be notoriously difficult to maintain. That’s why listing in the National Register of Historic Places can be a huge benefit. The State of New York offers a 20% tax credit for the historically-appropriate renovation of homes within listed neighborhoods. That can make a big difference when it comes to preserving our housing stock.

The City Council has just accepted a $10,000 grant that will pay for a historical analysis of the Feeney Park and French Ridge neighborhoods (adjoining areas in western New Rochelle, close to Columbus School and Lincoln Avenue). This analysis will help determine whether these neighborhoods are potentially eligible for listing and then serve as the basis for an application. Feeney Park & French Ridge were selected because this particular grant is restricted to areas with certain socio-economic characteristics.

To be clear, listing in the National Register is quite distinct from the establishment of a local historic district. Local districts impose controls on the manner in which homes can be renovated, while the national designation comes with no such restrictions. At present, New Rochelle has only one local historic district — Rochelle Heights and Rochelle Park.