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Keuka Lake State Park will be the location for the new museum 

FINGER LAKES—The Board of Trustees adopted a resolution, Thursday, April 22, to select Keuka Lake State Park as the future home of the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum. The vote was unanimous with one abstention.
After nearly a year of evaluating 19 sites that were originally submitted, the Site Selection Committee, under the direction of chairman Don Naetzker, recommended two sites for the board’s consideration: Seneca Lake State Park in and adjacent to the city of Geneva, and Keuka Lake State Park near Branchport.
Board president John Adamski, said, “For more than two months, the Site Selection Committee and the Board of Trustees have been wrestling with the most difficult decision of the entire site selection process: Choosing the right home for the Finger Lakes Museum between two very beautiful but distinctively different sites.”
After enlisting ConsultEcon Inc., a Boston-based market research firm in March, it was determined that the project is viable at either site although for different reasons.
Adamski added, “While the Seneca Lake site has significant advantages like a central location, the board determined that the Keuka Lake site more closely met the requirements that were originally established in the Strategic Plan, especially as they relate to natural history programming.”
Among the advantages that he said tipped the scales in favor of the Keuka Lake site are the following:
• There is 700 feet of intimate lakefront with a level, sandy beach.
• The natural history element of the project is predicted to draw the most visitors. The rolling, hilly terrain, ravines, brook, woods and areas of natural succession that exist there are ideal for wildlife exhibits in natural habitats.
• Several hundred acres of land are available for wildlife habitats and interpretive use-now or in the future.
• A 350-car paved parking lot already exists.
• Keuka College has offered to add Museum Sciences to its curriculum and become a partner in the educational aspect of the Museum.
• Yates County and Keuka-area business leaders have pledged over $2 million in startup funding.
In addition, Adamski said, “The Branchport Elementary School, which is presently vacant, has been purchased by the Finger Lakes Visitors Association for use as the museum’s base of operation during the project’s startup phases. The building will provide 15,000 square-feet for business offices and initial programming as well as storage for the acquisition of artifacts and collections.” Its 13-acre site provides navigable water access to Keuka Lake.
He also stated, “Finger Lakes State Parks and the Finger Lakes Museum Project will undertake a joint master plan for the entire 620-acre park. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation has been very cooperative and enthused over the proposal and we look forward to working with them to bring the project to fruition.”
Although the museum will be built on lands leased from Finger Lakes State Parks, it will remain a privately-owned and mostly privately-funded not-for-profit educational institution.
Other milestones:
March 2008: The notion to create a museum to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological history of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region is first floated in a Life in the Finger Lakes magazine article by John Adamski.
July 2008: The Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum initiative holds its first organizational meeting.
August 2008: An interim Board of Trustees is elected at the second organizational meeting. Work begins on a Strategic Plan.
April 2009: Each of the 14 Finger Lakes counties is invited to participate in a competitive site selection process to find a location to build the museum.
May 2009: The Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum is awarded a Museum Charter by the State Education Department’s Board of Regents.
June 2009: One hundred twenty-five people attended an event at the New York Wine & Culinary Center to celebrate the award of the charter.
July 2009: Nineteen sites are submitted for consideration as potential locations for the museum by eight counties and the city of Geneva.
December 2009: The Finger Lakes Museum is awarded not-for-profit status by the Internal Revenue Service
February 2010: The field of 19 potential locations has been narrowed to two: Geneva/Seneca Lake State Park and Keuka Lake State Park.
April 2010: After a market research study by ConsultEcon Inc., of Boston and recommendations by the Site Selection Committee, the Board of Trustees selects Keuka Lake State Park as home for the Finger Lakes Museum.
Members of the Board of Trustees
The following members compose the Board of Trustees of the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum as of Aug. 21, 2009:
John Adamski, president, retired architect, freelance writer, photographer; William Banaszewski, vice president, Professor Emeritus, Environmental Conservation Sciences, Finger Lakes Community College; Cynthia Kimble, treasurer, president, Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance; Henry Maus, vice president, Professor Emeritus, History and Anthropology, Finger Lakes Community College; Donald Naetzker, trustee, professional land planner and landscape architect; Natalie Payne, secretary, acting curator, Sonnenberg Gardens; Vincent Scalise, retired superintendent of schools, city of Geneva; RoIf Zerges, Ph.D., vice president, Professor of Economics, Keuka College, Alfred State and Rochester Institute of Technology.

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