The Senate Tuesday passed and sent to President Clinton for his signature the Interior Department appropriations bill, which contains an additional $500,000 for the restoration of the Darwin Martin House in Buffalo.
If approved by Clinton, the money would bring to $1.5 million the federal investment in preserving the house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1903.
Robert Kresse, president of the Martin House Restoration Corp., praised Sens. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., and Alfonse M. D'Amato, R-N.Y., for pushing the funds through Congress.
"This is wonderful news," Kresse said. "The action by Congress firmly establishes the Martin House as a commitment to tourism and economic development."
Kresse noted that the restoration program has been supervised by the National Parks Service, an arm of the Interior Department, since 1991, when the first federal appropriation was made for the effort.
All plans for reconstruction work, Kresse said, must be shared with the Parks Service, through the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The site is a National Historic Landmark.
The project, D'Amato said, "is an integral part of the ongoing economic and cultural renaissance of Buffalo. The money will be a catalyst of that effort, bringing even more visitors and jobs to benefit the local economy."
While the Parks Service supports the appropriation, the president might veto it. Earlier this year, the White House threatened to veto the overall appropriations bill because it contained Republican "environmental riders" to which the president objects.
The White House says provisions inserted into the $13.8 billion measure by Republicans violate its balanced-budget agreement with Congress by requiring congressional reviews of the Headwaters and Yellowstone land purchases.
Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Wash., chairman of the Senate Interior appropriations subcommittee, urged Clinton to sign the bill. Gorton said it is a "delicate compromise."
The bill provides $98 million for the National Endowment for the Arts, $38 million below the administration's request.
Moynihan said $1.1 million Martin House contracts have already been awarded for work on the roof, gutters, insulation, the east veranda and masonry.
"When I visited the Darwin Martin House in 1991," Moynihan said, "I was not prepared to see the ruin that this architectural masterpiece had become. I wrote The Buffalo News in an effort to alert all to the horrid state of this wonderful house. I learned there was a restoration effort, but next to no money."