New York Power Authority will upgrade its visitor centers
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) is undertaking a more than $13 million modernization of its three hydroelectric project visitors centers in the Northern Catskills, Western New York and Northern New York to upgrade the exhibits, displays and facilities.
The comprehensive redesign and reconstruction will incorporate the latest hands-on interactive technologies and reflect the transformative changes occurring in New York State’s electric power industry under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo from the increased use of clean renewable power resources, smart grid technologies and energy efficiency.
The state-of-the-art upgrades, including large touch screens, multimedia and exhibit connectivity to the Internet, will be undertaken at the Blenheim -Gilboa (B-G) Visitors Center, in North Blenheim, Niagara Power Vista Visitors Center, in Lewiston; and the Frank S. McCullough Jr. Hawkins Point Visitors Center, in Massena. Last year, the three facilities drew nearly 200,000 visitors, as key tourist attractions for those parts of the state.
In addition to their exhibits and displays on energy and NYPA power programs and customers, the facilities are community centers for special events, such as wildlife festivals, antique car shows, and Fourth of July and Halloween celebrations, and for wide-ranging civic activities.
On May 22 the NYPA Board of Trustees approved a multi-million dollar competitively bid contract award to Hadley Exhibits, Inc., a Buffalo firm, to develop content and detailed designs for the fabrication and installation of the new exhibits.
In addition to the multiple dimensions of the new hands-on exhibits, the improvements will also include redesigned floor layouts to enhance accessibility, and modified signage, lighting and electrical infrastructure.
The construction at the B-G visitors center will begin in the fall of 2016, with the work to be completed by the spring of 2017. Housed in a restored 18th century dairy barn, the visitors center is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. The visitors center grounds include Lansing Manor, an early 19th century house restored and renovated by the Power Authority and listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Nearby is Mine Kill State Park, developed by NYPA and operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The seven-day-a-week operating hours at the B-G Visitors Center, which is housed in a 19th century dairy farm, are not expected to be affected by the exhibit upgrades, which will be largely conducted between the fall and spring months to avoid the summer tourism season. NYPA will coordinate the work with Hadley to mitigate any impact on visitors and will keep the public informed.