State awards $498K to museum group
KEUKA PARK—The New York State Environmental Protection Fund awarded a $498,000 grant to the Finger Lakes Museum through Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2012 Regional Economic Development Council Initiative.
Museum Executive Director Don Naetzker said the funds will be used to pay for an environmental assessment as well as planning and design work for the first phase of the museum’s exhibit-based campus in Keuka Lake State Park.
Naetzker said, “Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects, known for their work with the National Park Service, is leading a team of design experts, educators and environmental consultants to create exhibits that will examine freshwater habitats, fisheries, bald eagle and river otter restoration, and Finger Lakes winemaking.” Exhibits being planned include a 150,000-gallon freshwater aquarium, a 19th century winery, a bald eagle aviary, an otter pond, and an interactive gallery featuring each of the 11 glacially-formed Finger Lakes.
Museum board President John Adamski said, “I want to thank the State of New York and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council for recognizing the Finger Lakes Museum as a priority tourism and economic development project.” However, he added, “This grant comes with a matching funds requirement, which means that we have to raise additional money privately in order to access these state funds.”
The governor’s economic development plan was designed to leverage private investment in a project in order for it to qualify for state funding. In 2011, the museum was awarded $2.3 million in regional council grants, which came with the condition that organizers raise an additional $1.3 million in matching funds.
The museum’s business plan calls for the project to be funded primarily through tax-deductible private donations, philanthropic gifts and corporate and foundation grants, but Adamski said the museum also plans to apply for any state and federal grants for which the project qualifies.