Public-Private Partnerships Shine as Way to Add Amenities to State Parks
Open Space Institute
Secures Four New York State Regional Economic Development Grants totaling $1.02
million in Support of Projects at Letchworth and Thacher State Parks
ALBANY, NY - December 17, 2014 -The Open Space Institute
is the recipient of four individual New York State Regional Economic
Development Council (REDC) Grants that will support major visitor enhancement
projects planned for Letchworth and Thacher State Parks, located in the Finger
Lakes and Capital District regions, respectively. The state grants totaling $1.02 million
complement the private dollars being raised by OSI through its Alliance for New
York State Parks program to construct a nature center at Letchworth State Park
and a visitor center at Thacher Park.
The development projects, planned for two of New
York’s most prominent state park landscapes, will expand and deepen visitor
experiences at the parks, through enhanced orientation, interpretation and
public amenities. In each case, emphasis
will be placed on encouraging and improving outdoor experiences, particularly
for families and new visitors.
“We thank Governor Cuomo
and members of the Finger Lakes and Capital District REDCs for their commitment
to these two transformative park projects. These grants, made through a competitive
process with a focus on economic impact, underscore the important role parks
play as economic drivers,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “OSI is
proud to be a leader in supporting these exciting projects that will ultimately
encourage more people to get out and enjoy New York’s premier state
“The Letchworth Nature
Center and a new visitor center at Thacher will greatly enhance these State
Parks as destinations for recreation and learning,” said Rose Harvey,
Commissioner of the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
“I applaud the Open Space Institute for their partnership in moving these
projects forward and I thank Governor Cuomo and the Finger Lakes and Capital
Region Economic Development Councils for recognizing that quality parks are
great building blocks for strong communities.”
Three of the four grants, totaling
$800,000, were awarded to build a new $6.1 million Letchworth Nature Center at
the park located southwest of Rochester. The REDC grant, along with other state
funding, complements a $2 million private fundraising effort which has raised
$1.6 million since the campaign was launched in May 2014. The new Letchworth
Nature Center is slated for groundbreaking in Spring 2015. For more information
on the project or to support the campaign, visit letchworthnaturecenter.org.
Similarly, the $220,000
grant was awarded to OSI for a visitor center for Thacher Park. The grant will
complement a private fundraising campaign supporting a new centerpiece for the
Albany-area park. Plans for the new visitor amenity are currently under design.
The OSI award will be directed toward the development and production of
interpretive installations for the project.