Northern New York Newspapers
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Sun., Oct. 4
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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Support needed for proposed visitor site


The city of Ogdensburg seeks funds for a feasibility study for the development and operation of the Interpretive Center and Museum on Van Rensselaer (Lighthouse) Point. The revitalization of the point is a partnership between Ogdensburg and the Fort La Présentation Association. I strongly support this collaboration to refurbish the city’s waterfront.

Ogdensburg has identified this strategic action to improve the local and regional economy as an initiative in the city’s Brownfield Opportunity Area and Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. The Interpretive Center and Museum will house educational and interpretive facilities, a multi-purpose theater, curation space for the Fort Association’s artifacts, offices and restrooms.

The study will detail the site’s market, historic and recreational potential and identify program, operation, maintenance and funding options. A market study, an operating pro forma and user, building and program analyses will be included. For school and community groups, the Interpretive Center and Museum will promote education experiences including historical interpretation and re-enactments, which will instill civic pride and increase interest in heritage preservation.

Worth noting is this project is aligned with and complements the Fort La Présentation Association’s planned park and public-access improvements, which include a nearly mile-long trail network around the point.

Interpretive signs will highlight the significant role the fort precinct played in American history. The history spans the Native American experience, events in the French and Indian War, the American Revolution and the War of 1812 focused on Fort de La Présentation and the period as a St. Lawrence River forwarding depot.

The park and trail project was recently awarded $352,650 from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation through a successful consolidated fund application.

These initiatives build upon the city and the Fort La Présentation Association’s endeavors to recognize this historically significant site and its important role in improving the city’s tourism infrastructure, leveraging key assets and creating an inviting facility welcoming tourist spending.

I support this effort and ask the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and New York State Department of State to fund this important project. If you believe in this project, please contact Cesar A. Perates, NYS Department of State, One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12231.

Michael Whittaker

Bishop’s Mills, Ontario

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