Keuka Lake State Park ideas draw remarks

John Christensen
Finger Lakes Museum Project Director Don Naetzker presents information about a marketing study the museum has completed.

More than 100 interested residents and property owners on Keuka Lake, along with members of local government, attended the public information meeting for the Finger Lakes Museum to be built on a site at the Keuka Lake State Park.

With an unparalleled view of the sunset from the park’s picnic pavilion, the capacity crowd listened intently to the representatives of the State Parks Dept. and the directors of the FLM.

Tim Joseph, NYS Parks Regional Director for the Finger Lakes, made the welcoming remarks saying, “We’re at the very early stages. There are a lot of decisions yet to be made.” He also introduced Tom Lyons, NYS Parks Director of Resource management, who laid out the guidelines for the conduct of the meeting.

Next to speak was Sue Poelvoorde, New York State Parks Senior Natural Resource Planner for the Finger Lakes Region. She delivered an overview of the Keuka Lake State Park’s history and development. This understanding of the resources available at the park naturally led to the Finger Lakes Museum proposal itself.

John Adamski, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Museum, presented the rationale for the museum and the nature of its symbiotic partnership with the NYS Parks Dept. and the Keuka Lake State Park itself. He then handed the meeting over to Don Naetzker, Finger Lakes Museum Project Director.

Naetzker’s presentation was a more specific outline of the museum’s goals and planning process. The desire to combine the natural, historical, and cultural story of the Finger Lakes to the public is the focus of the FLM. Without any concrete schematics yet drawn, this was information as to what the museum wants to be, as well as a basis upon which the public can offer their input.

The meeting was then turned over to the public for their questions and comments, which were for the most part both rational and germane. The question of natural interest was the location of the museum within the park. It was here that a contingent of property owners from nearby Esperanza Drive began to make their presence known.

A resident of that neighborhood declared he didn’t like the idea of people walking there. It was suggested by one individual that the museum should be kept away from the lake. After the meeting, some commented this seemed to some to defeat the purpose of choosing the Keuka Lake State Park site, or indeed of having a Finger Lakes museum at all.

Another seasonal resident of Esperanza Drive complained he didn’t want “big commercial boats” in front of his house, referring to the potential of the Esperanza Rose stopping there.

This same resident later compared the museum to Rochester’s Fast Ferry and condemned the entire plan as “grandiose,” doomed to fail, and destined to become a burden on the taxpayers despite the facts of the museum’s financing.

More questions were raised about some of those grandiose rumors, ranging even as far as an imagined monorail train.

Other concerns included:

•  The impact on the rest of the park

• The environmental impact and sewage arrangements

• How to light the park without spoiling the natural atmosphere

• Having a public advisory board involved in the plans

• Architecture should be natural, historical, and cultural to the Finger Lakes

• The timeline of the project and construction dates

• Possibly acquiring more property for the park and the museum

• A swimming pool and water education program

• Maintaining the natural beauty of the park

• The collection of Native artifacts during construction and for display

• A service restaurant on site rather than a destination restaurant

• Any changes to the KLSP’s recreation program

• The potential of windmills on the site

• Potential sewer service on Rte. 54A

• How visitors will travel between the KLSP site and the Branchport School site

• Comparison to the Adirondack Museum

• Impact on real estate values

• Traffic on West Bluff Drive

All of these questions, concerns, and suggestions were recorded on a flip chart by Ms. Poelvoorde to be considered and incorporated in the next planning stage.

The meeting concluded in good spirits and with the last glimmer of sunlight over the lake, the perfect weather seeming to promise a bright future for the Finger Lakes Museum.

Several people attended the meeting at the Keuka Lake State Park.