Residents have questions for museum officials
DUNDEE—When Keuka Lake State Park was selected as the siteof the Finger Lakes Cultural and Natural History Museum in April, board chairman John Adamski said the work would really begin with securing funding for the project.
Funding was just one of many questions fielded by museum organizers during an Aug. 26 meeting at Fulkerson Winery. Several individuals who live in the area near the park attended the meeting, asking questions following the presentation of a slide program that outlined some features planned for the museum.
Gary Montgomery, who attended the August meeting of Yates County Legislature to express his concerns repeated them during the meeting: He does not want to have any taxpayer money used on the project, he is concerned about the impact of the number of people who might visit and has difficulty visualizing what the project would be. Montgomery said, “Until you have done your planning, we can’t get excited about the numbers.” Adamski noted the estimate of 250,000 is not a proven number.
Adamski was asked for specifics on the relationship with the state park. He said the state park is a partner that will provide master planning, emphasizing they will not contribute money. Adamski said the group is working with the park in laying out the project. Fees for entering the park are also part of discussions. He said, “We must sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the park then bring in consultants in the fall. We will hire a consultant and hope the study will define what exhibitions to have, how large and the mix of natural and cultural. We want the design to be driven by the market.” Adamski was asked about the history of how accurate market studies are. Project manager Don Naetzker said they have no numbers of how many market studies meet their target.
Another question is what sites in the park are being considered. Adamski said the group is not looking at any specific sites until the study is done. Naetzker added, “One critical criteria is a water view. The state is willing to be flexible about locations. The market will define the product.” Asked how close to water’s edge they expect to build, Naetzker said there was no determination yet.
Audience member Lynne Montgomery expressed concern about use of the beach by a large number of visitors and that the beach would not be able to handle a large number who may want to use it. Montgomery said, “If you build on the beach, it’s gone forever. I’m concerned about the pristine park.” She said the only level spot where the beach can expand is where the park manager’s house is. Adamski responded, “We’re not going to build on the beach. The state park still owns the land and has complete control.”
Lynda Rummel also lives near the site. She said, “I’m coming away with a disconnect between the slides and what the site and market would allow. The vision could get significantly rewritten. There are three things: the state, the market and money.”
In response to some of the questions about funding, Adamski said a Founders program has been established. People who donate $100 will receive a decal and have their name on the Founders Wall. Since this program began approximately $50,000 has been donated. State and federal grants, private corporations and donations will be sought to cover the cost of the project, estimated at $40 million. Finger Lakes Economic Development Center has offered to help the organization find funds for the project. In response to concerns about governmental funding of the project, Naetzker said there is no pledge from any agency at this time.