Finger Lakes Museum Hires Development Director

The Finger Lakes Museum has announced the appointment of Richard Lane as Development Director. Richard brings over 20 years of senior level experience in the non-profit sector to the Museum, which will open its Discovery Campus, in Branchport in 2013 and plans to open its exhibit-based museum facility and aquarium in 2014-2015 at Keuka State Park.

While serving four nationally-recognized organizations, Richard has worked on capital campaigns, including construction projects, ranging from $12 million to $18 million. He has extensive experience in community outreach and advocacy, working diligently with non-profit boards to accomplish those projects.

Executive Director Don Naetzker stated, “We are very pleased and excited to have Richard on our team. We are impressed with his capabilities and look forward to working with him.”

Upon accepting the offer, Lane said “Having vacationed on the Finger Lakes since 2001 at my in-laws, and having been married at Norton Chapel, Keuka College, I have grown to love this very special region with all it has to offer. I am especially attracted to the Museum’s focus on protecting and sustaining the natural beauty and resources of the Finger Lakes, while promoting a green economy. I am truly excited about working with Board and staff to realize the Finger Lakes Museum, which will greatly benefit the region.”

Contact Richard by email at [email protected] or by phone at 315-418-0536 to set up a time to meet with him to discuss giving opportunities, questions about future donations, or to get to know one another over a cup of coffee.

In April, The Finger Lakes Museum launched its annual campaign titled “Preserving your Passions”. By the end of December, the Museum hopes to raise $450,000. Contributions are being accepted to help the Museum make their first annual giving campaign a success so they can continue supplying the Finger Lakes community and its visitors with educational programming focused on the preservation and stewardship of this beautiful Finger Lakes region. Donations can be made online or by mail to: The Finger Lakes Museum, PO Box 96, Keuka Park, NY, 14478.

The Finger Lakes Museum is proposed as the premier natural and cultural resource dedicated to the enjoyment, education and stewardship of the Finger Lakes Region – and to fresh water conservation. The Museum is chartered by the NYS Education Department and incorporated as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt organization.

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Update on Finger Lakes Museum Efforts

The president of The Finger Lakes Museum’s board of trustees announced that the project’s Founders Campaign is nearing the halfway mark in an endeavor to raise $1 million by December 31st. The drive is financing operations at the former Branchport Elementary School, including hiring staff, and paying consultants for architectural and exhibit design services.

Board President John Adamski said, “The Founders Campaign was launched by the board late last year and has resulted in hundreds of donations that range from $100 to $100,000. We’re almost halfway there but there is still a long way to go.” He is asking people from across the Finger Lakes Region to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the project. Significant funding has been received from the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. “We are also looking for program sponsors,” he added.

Anyone, including regional businesses, can become a founder of The Finger Lakes Museum by making a contribution of $100 or more. Donors will receive a founders’ certificate, vehicle decal, and have their names permanently inscribed as members of the Founders Society on the Founders Wall in the entrance to the main museum building. Contributions can be made online or mailed to the museum at PO Box 96, Keuka Park, NY, 14478.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to build a premier educational institution in Keuka Lake State Park to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region. It was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009 and is operating from development offices in the school, which it purchased from the Penn Yan Central School District last January.

Adamski said that the project is being planned to become a primary tourist destination that will feature one of the largest freshwater fish aquariums in the Northeast. Studies show that it has the potential to increase tourism in the Finger Lakes Region and create hundreds of jobs in the private sector, he said.

Adamski also announced the election of two new members to the organization’s board of trustees. Tim Sellers of Geneva, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Keuka College, and retired lumber executive John Meisch of Rushville were both elected in a unanimous vote. Adamski said, &#8220Tim’s expertise as a limnologist and professor of biology and environmental science will be a tremendous asset in planning the natural history component of the museum. We are all very excited to have him aboard.&#8221

He also said, &#8220And John Meisch brings a lifetime of business management experience and a working knowledge of American History to the board, which balances the cultural history component. I think that we’ve hit two home runs here.&#8221 The addition of Sellers and Meisch brings the number of board members to 13.

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Finger Lakes Museum Buys Local School

The Board of Trustees of the Finger Lakes Museum has voted to purchase the Branchport Elementary School from the Penn Yan Central School District for $200,000 and the deal was closed the same afternoon at the Yates County Clerk’s Office. The school has been vacant for several years due to school district consolidation.

Museum board president John Adamski said, “The original plan was for the Finger Lakes Visitors Association to purchase the school and lease it to the museum on a 5-year interim basis during the startup phase of the project, after which time the museum would move to its new quarters in Keuka Lake State Park. But we have since realized the long term potential of the building and grounds as a research and education center, directly affiliated with the museum. That’s 17,000 square feet that we don’t have to build in Keuka Lake State Park.” The two sites are about a mile apart.

The school was first proposed as a temporary museum headquarters by Keuka Lake site proponents during the search for a location to build the project in 2009. When Keuka Lake State Park—one of 19 sites then in contention—was chosen last April, the school was included in the deal.

Museum personnel occupied the building last summer and fall under an early occupancy agreement with the Town of Jerusalem while the FLVA pursued arrangements to purchase the property from the school district. The museum staff has moved to other quarters for the winter months to avoid heating the entire building for three staff members.

Adamski said, “At first we looked at the school as a temporary office and warehouse for artifacts and collections while the project was being designed and built. But after conducting program definition and market studies, we realized that we could have some initial museum exhibits and programming ready there as early as next summer.” Plans now call for making investments into the school property to upgrade the heating and septic systems and to make the building more energy efficient. Converting the gym into a theater and auditorium is also being considered.

Adamski said that recent partnership discussions with officials at Keuka College confirmed the potential of the school property to become a research and education center, administered by the museum, the college, and other academic partners. “All of these factors contributed to our change in plans”, he said.

Finger Lakes Museum Annouces Agreement

Finger Lakes Museum Board President John Adamski and Finger Lakes State Parks Regional Director Tim Joseph have announced that a ceremony has been scheduled to sign a Letter of Intent to start the process that will enable the Finger Lakes Museum to build its campus in Keuka Lake State Park. A joint Memorandum of Understanding listing the commitments of five other Keuka Lake State Park site sponsors, which were presented in the Site Sponsors’ Proposal last December, will also be signed at the same event. Those members include Yates County, the Town of Jerusalem, Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, Keuka College and the Finger Lakes Visitors Association. A separate agreement with the Yates County Chamber of Commerce will be signed in a few more weeks.

The affair will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, September 17 th at the lakeside
pavilion in Keuka Lake State Park and members of the News Media and the public
are invited to attend this unprecedented event.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to create a worldclass educational institution to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000
squaremile Finger Lakes Region, since the last glacial recession began some 12,000 years ago. Last April, Keuka Lake State Park was selected as the preferred location to build the project after 19 sites were submitted for evaluation by 8 Finger Lakes counties and the City of Geneva in 2009.

Under the Letter of Intent, the Finger Lakes Museum and the New York State Office
of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will initiate a comprehensive planning
process for the Museum’s facilities at Keuka Lake State Park. The planning process,
which will include public input opportunities and a full environmental review, will
develop a detailed concept design and site building plans.

The Board of Trustees has approved the design of a new logo for the Finger Lakes
Museum, which was created by InHouse Graphics of Geneva and will be unveiled at the event.

Finger Lakes Museum, State Announce Partnership

The president of the Finger Lakes Museum and the Regional Director of Finger Lakes State Parks have announced the formation of a partnership that will work to move the proposed Finger Lakes Museum forward. In April, the museum’s board of trustees announced that Keuka Lake State Park had been selected as the preferred site for a world­class museum that is planned to showcase the cultural and natural history of the 9,000 square­mile Finger Lakes Region.

Museum president, John Adamski, said that board members and Office of Parks, Recreation, & Historic Preservation (OPRHP) officials from Albany and the region have already met and toured the park as the first step in developing a joint master plan for the museum and public use of state parkland. Regional parks director, Tim Joseph, arranged the meeting and led the tour.

A little­-used 60­-acre section at the north end of the park, bordering Route 54A, is
being considered as the location for the museum’s main campus. Opportunities for interpretive exhibits in other areas of the park are also being examined. Camping and public use of the existing beach, facilities, and boat launch will not be affected.

Andy Beers, OPRHP Executive Deputy Commissioner, stated that while the agency will not be involved in funding the $40 million project, it will make its expertise and services available to help museum organizers develop their plans.

The Finger Lakes Museum is a privately held not-­for­-profit educational institution that was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009. While some federal and state funding may be available through grant programs, the bulk of the funding is planned to come from private sources and corporations.

In other developments, museum trustee and former site selection committee chairman, Don Naetzker, resigned from the board in May to accept a paid position as the museum’s Project Manager. A licensed landscape architect and professional land planner, Naetzker will coordinate planning efforts with museum organizers, state parks, and architectural and exhibit designers. His recent master planning projects include Frontier Field, Corn Hill Landing, and Charlotte Harbor at the Port of Rochester.
Commercial real estate developer and president of the Finger Lakes Visitors Association, David Wegman, was elected to the museum’s board of trustees in May. He is also owner of Esperanza Mansion Inn and Restaurant in the hamlet of Keuka Park and the tour boat, Esperanza Rose, which offers dinner cruises on Keuka Lake. Wegman was instrumental in bringing the Finger Lakes Museum to Keuka Lake State Park.

Photo: Finger Lakes Museum board members and officials from the state Office of
Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation met last month in order to develop a joint
master plan for Keuka Lake State Park. From left to right: Don Naetzker, FLM project manager? Tim Joseph, Finger Lakes State Parks Regional Director? Mike Wasilco, DEC Region 8 wildlife biologist? Andy Beers, OPRHP Executive Deputy Commissioner? Chris Pushkarsh, OPRHP, Tom Alworth, OPRHP? Bill Banaszewski, FLM? John Adamski, FLM president? John Eberhard, OPRHP? Henry Maus, FLM? Jim Zimpfer, OPRHP? Dan Davis, OPRHP? and Tom Lyons, OPRHP.

Finger Lakes Museum Selects Keuka Lake Site

On Thursday, the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to select Keuka Lake State Park in Yates County as the future home of the Finger Lakes 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.

The idea to create a museum to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological history of the 9,000 square-­mile Finger Lakes Region was first floated in a Life in the Finger Lakes magazine article by John Adamski in March 2008.

After enlisting ConsultEcon Inc., a Boston­based market research firm in March, it was determined that the project is viable at either site although for different reasons. Board president, John 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 Keuka­area business leaders have pledged over $2 million in start-up 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 start-up 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 620­acre 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.