Discovery Campus opening day moved to 2014
BRANCHPORT—The opening of the Finger Lakes Museum’s Discovery Campus, located at the former Branchport school, is delayed until Earth Day in April of 2014. Originally, the facility had a planned opening date of April 22, 2013, but Finger Lakes Museum Executive Director Don Naetzker said it was delayed due to a variety of reasons.
“It wasn’t one thing,” Naetzker said. “It included permitting, and weather and also just assembling the financing and the grants.”
Naetzker said the museum has spent a lot of time refining what they want their discovery campus to be. He said the museum is trying to have a construction meeting by the end of this week, and hopefully work will resume next week. Naetzker said they just received their wetland permit Monday, May 14, which was one of the permits holding up progress. He said these delays have also pushed back the dates for work on the main campus to be located at the Keuka Lake State Park site.
“We had some very aggressive targets for the main campus four years ago,” Naetzker said. “We wanted to have it online in 2014. We have recently updated our strategic plan which has the museum opening incrementally in 2014 with the discovery campus. Then we are going to have pieces of it coming online over the course of 2015, 2016 and 2017.”
Naetzker said their target is to have some programming beginning at the state park site as soon as next year with some waterfront canoeing and kayaking, and some natural history type activities. He said the ideal target date for completion of the Keuka Lake State Park facility will be in the spring of 2017.
Naetzker presented an outline of the changes being made to the museum’s Discovery Campus to the Jerusalem planning board during their meeting Thursday, May 2. Naetzker said the museum is planning on adding an aviary to house two bald eagles unable to be released back into the wild provided by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Naetzker said the aviary was not in the original site plan and will bring it back to the planning board next month for approval of the changes.
Naetzker said the museum wants to have the aviary section of the Discovery Campus completed sooner rather than later, hoping to have it finished by the next school year. He said he wants to be able to bring students in to see the aviary by September. Naetzker said the aviary will be a fenced-in outdoor addition to the school and will allow visitors to catch glimpses of the eagles as they walk in the main entrance.
“I think it is a really exciting addition, and an attraction in and of itself,” Naetzker said.
Naetzker said they plan on working through the summer and fall, having the building closed by wintertime to work into March of next year. He said they also have plans to start work on the 19th century barn to be located at the nearby Creek-side Center this summer, which will be used to offer canoeing and kayaking. Naetzker said the museum plans to hold a barn raising event for the community as well, hoping to have the Creek-side Center completed by October so they have a place to store kayaks and canoes.
“Even though it is kind of a small museum right now, this first step opens you up to a great adventure,” Naetzker said.
In other business:
• The board approved a steep slopes application for a driveway to be installed at 5191 East Bluff Dr. Board member Art Carcone said under normal circumstances, he would have recommended rejecting the application, but since the property owner had already begun work on it before realizing he needed to come before the planning board, he recommended they approve it so the work and drainage issues can be addressed before any significant rainfall causes problems on the property.