N.Y. Power Authority And
Leading Area Officials Mark Formal Opening of Hawkins Point Visitors
July 26, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
HAWKINS POINT—A brand new visitors center for what
may well be Northern New York’s most important power plant, the St.
Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, was dedicated Tuesday at a
formal grand opening for the much anticipated facility and its new
location at Hawkins Point.
“Today marks a new era for our St. Lawrence-FDR
Visitors Center, which has long been a key tourist attraction for
Northern New York, highlighting the exceptional importance of hydropower
to this part of New York State,” said Joseph J. Seymour, New York Power
Authority (NYPA) chairman. “The panoramic view of the international
power dam across the St. Lawrence River underscores the Herculean
efforts of those that came before us in harnessing one of North
America’s mightiest waterways for clean, low-cost electricity that is
absolutely essential to this region, and its automotive and aluminum
industries, in particular.”
Seymour, who was elected NYPA chairman by the Power
Authority board immediately before the event, spoke at the ceremonial
ribbon cutting for the new, $5 million facility. It replaces the
original visitors center that had been located atop NYPA’s portion of
the U.S.-Canadian power dam where the generating equipment for the St.
Lawrence-FDR project is located. The Power Authority closed the center
to the general public in 2002 for security reasons following the
September 11 attacks.
“Hawkins Point is an idyllic setting for the
educational and interactive exhibits on energy and the history of this
area that have long been synonymous with the Power Authority’s visitors
center,” said Sen. James W. Wright, who chairs the Senate Committee on
Energy and Telecommunications. “I know that Northern New Yorkers are
going to enjoy this new facility, and that it will serve as a magnet for
tourists, just as the previous visitors center had been during its many
years of operation.”
The original facility hosted more than five million
visitors from the time it opened in 1959, shortly after the St.
Lawrence-FDR project produced first commercial power.
“The visitors center has always done a tremendous
job in explaining how the energy of falling water is converted into
electricity by the St. Lawrence-FDR project’s turbine-generators and
sent over transmission and distribution lines to local industries and
homes,” said Sen. Raymond A. Meier. “In a sense, it’s the public face of
this indispensable generating project, which is integral to our economy
in Northern New York.”
The electricity produced at St. Lawrence-FDR, along
with the output of the Power Authority’s Niagara Power Project near
Niagara Falls, is the lowest cost in the state, and among the least
expensive in the country.
“The new visitors center really impresses upon
people the absolute importance of the St. Lawrence-FDR Project to
Northern New York,” said Assemblywoman Dede Scozzafava. “It’s an
integral part of our economy, and the Hawkins Point Visitors Center
underscores this, while contributing to our area’s tourism.”
“I’d encourage everyone to drop by the new visitors
center when they get a chance,” said Assemblyman Darrell Aubertine. “It
reflects important facets of this region’s history and economy, and
tells the story in an interesting and entertaining way.”
“Today marks the start of a new chapter in the
history of the St. Lawrence-FDR Project—and in the Power Authority’s
commitment to Northern New York,” said Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA
president and chief executive officer. “The new visitors center here at
Hawkins Point promises to become a mecca not only for local residents,
but for tourists from far beyond the region.”
The previous visitors center underwent a major
renovation in 2000 that included 40 new exhibits that are now part of
the new two-story building at Hawkins Point, in the Town of Massena.
Many of the exhibits are interactive and are especially suited for
A focal point of the new 14,000-square-foot
building is a new three-dimensional terrain map in the entrance lobby.
It features lighting effects highlighting locations from Ogdensburg to
Massena, described by an audio track activated by the push of a button.
The map is a replica of one at the project.
“The hands-on quality of the various exhibits, and
their use of computer technologies, provides both an educational and
entertaining experience, especially for young people,” said Sandy Cook,
Town of Massena supervisor. “In short, this is a fun place to visit, and
we’re delighted that the visitors center is once again open for
business, at this new, beautiful location.”
“The opening of the new visitors center is reason
for all of us in this community to be proud,” said Ken MacDonnell,
Village of Massena mayor. “The Power Authority has done an exceptional
job in relocating the facility to a site that offers splendid amenities,
not the least of which is the fantastic vista of the power dam across
the river. The location is further enhanced by the abundance of wildlife
in the immediate vicinity, where sightings of wild turkey, deer and
other wildlife will be a common occurrence for visitors to the center.”
Local boaters and anglers will also be able to use
an improved boat ramp and a new handicapped-accessible fishing pier that
the Power Authority built adjacent to the new visitors center.
The St. Lawrence-FDR project is NYPA’s first
generating project, constructed in the 1950s as a result of a
cooperative effort between the United States and Canada for the Robert
Moses-Robert H. Saunders Power Dam, which extends across the
international boundary, from Barnhart Island, N.Y., to Cornwall,
Ontario. There are 16 turbine-generators on each side of the border,
providing a net dependable capability of 800,000 kilowatts in each
In 2003, NYPA received a new 50-year, federal
license for St. Lawrence-FDR based on a historic agreement with local
communities and various other groups.
The visitors center is one of three that the Power
Authority operates at its hydroelectric projects. The others are at the
Niagara Project and the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Project in the