Our Building

                                        


The Fountain Arts Center occupies what used to be The Belmont Hotel. The original wood structure was burned in 1888, and was rebuilt in 1890 as the impressive three-story brick structure in the “business district” of Belmont. As one of the most prominent and historic buildings in the community, the former Belmont Hotel was designated as a historic landmark on the National and New York State Register of Historic Places, as an outstanding example of nineteenth century architecture. This classification also recognizes the facility’s important role in the county’s social, business, and political affairs. Though it suffered deterioration from years of neglect, like a “work in progress” it was revived into an exciting, inviting venue for the arts.

 
Location
The Fountain Arts Center is located in the village of Belmont, New York, which is the heart and county seat of Allegany County. Set between Chatauqua and the Finger Lakes, this peaceful rural setting offers a refreshing oasis for creative minds, and a retreat from the hectic pace of urban life. Just beyond the banks of the Genesee River, it is a central gathering place situated three miles south of the intersection of Interstate 86 and State Route 19.

 

 


Overview

 
In 2000, The Fountain Arts Center purchased the former Belmont Hotel to create an arts center, and to provide opportunities in the arts. The first priority of the Fountain Arts Center was to bolster the morale of the community by saving the deteriorating building which it called “home.” This was done in phases, as funds were available. In the end, a total of eighteen funding sources were combined to transform the structure into a vibrant mixed use facility, over the course of ten years.

From 2001 to 2006, private investment, matched by a New York Mains Street grant, as well as local grant awards, facilitated the rehabilitation of the first floor storefronts into a gallery, arts education space, art studio, and sign shop. The blighting influences of the structure began to be eliminated.

These improvements were followed by involvement with consultants from Edgemere Developers, Inc., Rochester, NY. in 2006. The development company completed a feasibility study, and determined from those results that the rehabilitation of the historic site into a mixed use facility was a viable option. They worked with their special team of architects, builders, engineers, and historic preservation specialists, to design an affordable housing project. This project had to meet the strict standards of the New York State Preservation Office and the National Parks Service, and had to dovetail with the requirements of the NY State Department of Housing and Community Renewal.

Applications for housing and historic preservations tax credits were compiled, and once the tax credits were successfully acquired, investors were brought in to underwrite the project. A housing development trust fund company was organized by the investors, and The Fountain Arts Center sold the building to the HDFC. This was followed by an intense fifteen month period of deconstruction, hazardous material abatement, and complete reconstruction of the site.