Museum considers sites in Yates, Schuyler

Jul 02, 2009 at 11:58 am by Observer-Review


Museum considers sites in Yates, Schuyler

YATES, SCHUYLER COUNTIES—Five locations, four in Yates County and one in Schuyler County, are being considered for the site of a Finger Lakes Cultural and Natural History Museum.
John Adamski, project director, said there are 15 locations in six counties the site selection committee will be visiting. The potential sites were announced Thursday, June 25, in Canandaigua. In Yates County the locations are former Branchport school property, as much space is needed in Keuka Lake State Park, the Keuka Lake Outlet in Dresden and 150 acres of the Morton Salt Property in Himrod. In Schuyler County the potential location is 113 acres of county owned land in Orange on Chambers Road.
Adamski said he came up with the idea for a Finger Lakes museum after visiting the Blue Mountain Lake Museum and the WILD Center in the Adirondacks in the spring of 2008. He said he wondered why the Finger Lakes region did not have something like that. Being a part time writer, Adamski wrote an article for “Living in the Finger Lakes” suggesting just that: a museum about the Finger Lakes. He said the magazine liked the idea and did a poll to get readers’ opinions. Several hundred liked it, with just one negative comment. In July the board held its first meeting and Adamski was elected president.
In the following year the board and all of its volunteers has been busy. In April of this year all 14 counties in the Finger Lakes were sent a request to submit potential locations for the museum. Just last month, May 18, the museum got its charter from the New York State Department of Education.
Adamski said he wanted all counties to participate, which is why all of them were invited to find potential locations. Yates County submitted the most. He added some counties wanted to submit a spot, but could not find a location that fit the site selection committee’s criteria. Adamski said the criteria includes 50 to 200 acres for the museum. He explained some of the potential locations (two in Ithaca with five acres each) does not meet this criteria, but the selection committee will still visit them. The location should also have fields, forests, wetlands, and a pond site. Adamski said the museum needed to be easily accessible for people, so close to a state highway. It would also need to have a good water supply and sanitary sewer system. He said one of the things the board wanted the museum to have was aquariums, which meant the water systems would have to support that.
Adamski said the 40,000 square foot museum would feature exhibits on area wildlife, Native American history, Mennonite farming, and the wine and grape industry. He added the museum would also touch on the Erie Canal.
The site selection committee, which Adamski is also on, is already visiting the locations. Adamski said as of Friday, June 26, they went to two sites in Aurora, Cayuga County. He said they wanted to have been to all the sites within a month. After having actually been to all the sites, the committee hopes to then narrow it down to three or four. He said the thought the committee would be visiting the Branchport school location this week, a site he is familiar with where it is located. One of the Yates locations he is not familiar with is the Morton Salt property. However, Adamski added, “It sounds good just based on the description.” Part of Keuka Lake State Park was not the only park submitted, but all were cleared with the New York State Department of Parks.
At the June 25 event that announced the locations, fundraising for the museum also began. Adamski said the board has hired a professional fundraiser. The board will look at multiple ways to help pay for the museum, including state and federal grants, stimulus funds, and contributions. The museum is estimated to cost $40 million to $50 million.
The other locations under consideration are:
• Deer Run Park in Seneca Falls, Seneca County.
• Seneca Army Post in Romulus, Seneca County.
• Sampson State Park in Romulus, Seneca County.
• Property adjacent to Wells College campus in Aurora, Cayuga County.
• Bush Farm in Aurora, Cayuga County.
• Property in the town of Auburn, Cayuga County.
• Cayuga Nature Center, Tompkins County.
• Ithaca Department of Transportation, Tompkins County.
• Emerson Department of Transportation in Ithaca, Tompkins County.
• Property in Owego, Tioga County.
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