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KEUKA LAKE   ADVERTISEMENT


Take a look at the museum numbers

KEUKA LAKE—There is excitement about the proposed Finger Lakes Cultural and Natural History Museum, particularly in the local area since a site in Keuka Lake State Park was selected for the project. Target date for opening of the facility is Memorial Day 2014.
Numbers behind the museum continue to be developed and John Adamski, president of the museum board of directors, answered some questions about finances. Adamski said they are talking about a $40 million project. He also said that number may go up or down some. Fundraising is now one of the key segments of the project.
Museum board of directors will meet May 5 and the first item on the agenda will be to identify sources of money for the project. Adamski said without a site they couldn’t go after funding, but now that a site has been identified funding can be sought. Some money has already been received through the museum website.
As interest has grown, the numer of people involved in the project has also grown. Adamski said the project began with 14 people and there are now 68 on six committees. Eight hundred e-mail addresses are on the mailing list. One number has shrunk. When the project began all of the 14 counties in the 9,000 square mile Finger lakes region were invited to participate in the competitive site selection process. Ninteen sites were selected for consideration and the final cut was between a site in Seneca Lake State Park and some city land in Geneva and Keuka Lake State Park.
During the program, Adamski said, “We had to disappoint 18 sites,” quickly adding, “They have all pledged their support.”
During official announcement of the site April 28, Finger Lakes Visitors Association (FLVA) President David Wegman announced FLVA has pledged to attempt to raise $2 million. He said the  group has talked to people who are interested in the museum and is taking donations right now. He said, “We know we have some work to do before we can go out and get all the money we need.”
Penn Yan Central School District accepted a $200,000 purchase offer from FLVA last month for purchase of the Branchport school building. Plans call for the building to be donated to the museum and used for meetings, exhibits and offices prior to construction of the museum. Several exhibits have already been loaned or donated for the project.
The exact size of the project won’t be known until a site plan is completed. Other questions center on the number of visitors and the direct dollar economic impact for Yates County in the first year of operation. Project manager Donald Naetzker said the group is looking at comparable museum models such as The Wind Center and Adirondack Museum, both in the Adirondacks. This has resulted in an estimate of a building that may be 40,000 to 60,000 square feet to start and with potential to be expandable. This will need to be confirmed through the organization’s pending feasibility study.
Naetzer said with regard to the number of visitors, the assumption is that they will need to draw upwards of 150,000 visitors a year and, it is hoped, well over 200,000 in order to make the museum financially viable. The numbers need to be confirmed based on the final market study, program and operating plan. A consulting team will be hired to finalize the program and develop schematic design work. This team will also have a market expert on it who will prepare attendance projections and generate economic benefit numbers. That process is expected to take several months and serve as a foundation for going forward, according to Naetzker.
 





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