N.Y. Power Authority Undertaking $13 Million Redesign and Modernization of its Three Upstate Visitors Centers, Including Blenheim-Gilboa
New Exhibits and Programs Will Spotlight Advances in Energy Technologies
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WHITE PLAINS—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 Thursday (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.
The award followed a previously approved contract authorization with another New York firm that conducted preliminary engineering work for the new exhibits and of other additions and modifications to the facilities that have a significant element of NYPA staff involvement.
“The modernization and redesign of our visitors centers will further add to the value of these important community resources as must-see attractions for locals and tourists alike,” Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA president and chief executive officer, said. “The Power Authority takes great pride in the integral role that our visitors centers play in the communities and in their highlighting our sustainable hydroelectric plants and the new energy technologies that we deploy in our business and with our customers.”
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.
STATEMENTS BY OTHERS
“The upgrades planned by NYPA will further enhance the marketability of the Blenheim-Gilboa Visitors Center and reinvigorate the always popular tourist destination,” said Senator James L. Seward. “As more individuals come to North Blenheim, the entire Schoharie Valley region benefits.”
“These are much-needed projects that will have a statewide impact. Not only do these facilities provide low costs and renewable energy to New Yorkers, they also play an important role in storing energy during off-peak periods and releasing it when our homes, farms and businesses need it the most,” said Assemblyman Pete Lopez. “The Blenheim-Gilboa (B-G) facility in my district is a contributing member to the local community and offers local employment, supports area projects and organizations, and underwrites a state park. I commend NYPA President/CEO Gil Quiniones and his team for advancing this initiative. We need more projects like this to help ensure a sustainable energy future for New York.”
Further information on NYPA’s admission-free visitor centers is available through the following website links:
■ The New York Power Authority has been designated as the lead entity via Executive Order 88 by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to form a central management and implementation plan to carry out his Build Smart NY plan to reduce energy use by state facilities by 20 percent by 2020. ■ NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.■ NYPA is the nation's largest state public power organization, through the operation of its 16 generating facilities in various parts of New York State, participation in a unique public/private partnership to contract for power from a clean generating plant in Queens, and its operation of more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. ■ More than 70 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. Its lower-cost power production and electricity purchases support hundreds of thousands of jobs throughout the state.■ For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Wordpress, and LinkedIn.