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Finger Lakes Museum Reaches Another Milestone

FINGER LAKES, NY – Last Thursday, the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution 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 themost difficult decision of the entire site selection process: Choosing the right home for the Finger Lakes Museum between two very beautiful butdistinctively different sites.”After enlisting ConsultEcon Inc., a Bostonbasedmarket research firm in March, it was determined that the project is viable at either site although fordifferent 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 wildlifeexhibits in natural habitats.· Several hundred acres of land are available for wildlife habitats and interpretive use—now or in the future.· A 350car 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 Keukaarea 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 VisitorsAssociation for use as the Museum’s base of operation during the project’s startup phases. The building will provide 15,000 squarefeet for businessoffices and initial programming as well as storage for the acquisition of artifacts and collections.” Its 13acresite 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 620acre park. TheNew 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 privatelyowned and mostly privatelyfundednotforprofit educational institution.NEWS CONFERENCEA News Conference has been scheduled at Esperanza Mansion, overlooking Keuka Lake, at 2:00pm, Wednesday, April 28 th . Museum board members,site sponsors, and state, local, and county officials will be present to answer questions. All media representatives are welcome.

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