Interpretive Center back on track

By Jay Braman Jr.
After 25 years in the making, the Catskill Interpretive Center is once again reappearing in local news this month.

In limbo since the mid-1990s, the Interpretive Center was to be a facility in Mount Tremper that would give visitors an abundance of information about the entire Catskills Region and the incentive to venture out and explore the wonders of the territory.

The idea for the project was developed in the mid-1980s under Governor Mario Cuomo and got as far as the purchase of a 62-acre parcel and over $1 million worth of site improvements before it all came to halt when George Pataki became governor in 1995.

With its impressive new pavement, bridge and parking lot, locals quickly began joking about “the road to nowhere” as it became more and more clear that New York State, was no longer interested in the plan.

But at the beginning of the new millennium, a group of organizations and private citizens formed The Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center and that group has continued to make progress toward construction.

This week, planning meetings to guide the design for the Catskill Park’s proposed information center will take place. The two meetings, set for November 28 and December 14, from 3-6 p.m., will be held at the Shandaken Town Hall.

The private/public partnership led by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, The Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, and The Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center have already pushed through a kiosk with 16 panels of information about the Catskills. It has already been erected at the site. 

The partnership has engaged a student class from the architecture department at SUNY Delhi to produce siting and conceptual plans for a building for the Interpretive Center. The students plan to make presentations of architectural drawings illustrating eight concepts of the planned facility to the public at these meetings.

The November 28 presentation is for the purpose of soliciting comments and suggestions from interested members of the Catskill community; these suggestions will be taken into consideration by the student designers who will then, at the December 14 meeting, present the final designs that they propose.

For more information please contact the Catskill Center at 586-2611 or cccd@catskillcenter.org.