Finger Lakes Museum sets goals for 2015

John Christensen
Natalie Payne, Executive Director at the Finger Lakes Museum & Aquarium describes plans for 2015 to members of the Jerusalem Town Board.

The new Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Museum & Aquarium , Natalie Payne, spoke before the Jerusalem Town Board at last Wednesday’s meeting, and laid out what the Museum wants to achieve by the end of 2015.

“I know a lot of people don’t think much is happening, but we have spent about $1 million on changes to the building so far, including a new roof and asbestos removal,” says Payne. Introducing Project Manager Jim Higgins, together they presented the FLM’s 2015 Objectives

At the Creekside Center:

• Streambed enhancement (clearing downed trees and debris)

• Kayak/Canoe launch construction

• Driveway, walkway, and landscaping

Green Innovation Grant projects:

• Bioswale landscaping (handling roof and parking lot runoff)

• Cisterns

• Green roof for the Creekside Center

Overall Site Enhancement:

• Roof parapet construction

• Street lighting

• Paving/striping of drive and parking lots

• Landscaping of grounds

Target dates for each project will be determined by elements such as weather and contractors existing schedules. “We have been in communication with some of our contractors,” says Payne, “but we are still working through the entire list of deliverables and understanding exactly what type of contractor is needed to complete all aspects of the above project pieces. “

The FLM will also complete a new Site Master Plan, since they decided to concentrate their facilities at the Discovery Campus on the grounds of the former Branchport Elementary School. They expect to have a draft of the plan by July when they will also begin a market and economic feasibility study for the new direction.

“I also want to be sure to note that all of this work is based upon the FLM reaching the required match dollars,” says Payne. “Each of our state grants has dollar match requirements (that) range between 10 to 50 percent.”

Other business at the Jerusalem May 20 meeting included:

• LPG Storage: Peter Gamba spoke to the board, asking that they join 25 other towns in the Finger Lakes that have committed to opposition of the LPG storage project near Watkins Glen on Seneca Lake. Gamba cited the transportation risks as well as the danger of contaminating Seneca’s waters. Supervisor Pat Killen had in hand the conclusion of the N.Y. State DEC Staff Initial Post-Issues Conference Brief, which he said to not support Gamba’s claims, but the board will consider his request.

• Zoning Committee: The Ag.Res. Zoning Committee will be reformed and a new chairman appointed to make a final draft of changes, including minimum lot size and coverage, definitions, boat storage facilities, athletic fields, and cafés. Board member Mike Steppe says to draw the line there, get the changes done, “and put a bow on it.”

• FEMA reimbursements: The board approved the following transfers of FEMA funds to individual items:

- $40,000 to the Post-Employment Reserve

- $479,300 to the Highway Machine Reserve Fund

• Highways: The bid for repairs to Sid White Road, including the armoring of ditches, was awarded to C.P. Ward Inc. for $60,687.

The board authorized the purchase of a 2016 Mack tandem axle plow truck for $187,550.09, and authorized purchase of a used bulldozer not to exceed $100,000.

• Contracts: Authorized a contract for new fiber optic, cloud-based phone and internet service with Empire: $850 installation plus $437 per month, including equipment rental. The board also renewed a 3-year contract with SCT Computers at the same hourly rate.