Governor commits $85,000 to Interpretive Center work


By Jay Braman Jr.
Just as the construction of the long-awaited Catskill Interpretive Center in Mount Tremper is about ready to go for bids, Governor Cuomo has announced funding for more trails around the 62-acre site.
Last week the governor released a list of 50 outdoor recreation related projects, totaling about $6 million.
Within that batch is an $85,000 commitment to build a new accessible loop trail and two other trails near the site, as well as to build a bridge that is needed to connect the site to state owned land on Mt. Tobias and rehabilitate an historic firetower on the mountain.

Building work
All this as the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) readies building plans for the 2,000-square-foot Interpretive Center structure, according to Jim Enfante of Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center.
“At this time, The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is well advanced in the development of plans for the facility that will house the Interpretive Center,” he said in a prepared statement. “Funding needed for this facility has been committed from the Environmental Protection Fund and from a Federal HUD Appropriation. It is expected that these plans will be put out to bid for construction in the early summer of 2014, and construction completed in the early fall of 2014.”
The Interpretive Center, as originally planned over three decades ago, would cost over $7 million today but remains unbuilt at the 62-acre Mount Tremper site dedicated for the project. The new, downscaled plans would still serve as a physical and virtual gateway for visitors and residents to learn about the plethora of recreational and cultural activities available in Catskill Park and the Catskill Region.  
In addition to the $85,000 just awarded there is $1 million in state funding dedicated to the project, as well $350,000 in federal money secured by Hinchey over 20 years ago.
Additional funding has been secured from the State of New York and from the NYC Department of Environmental Protection for the operation of that facility that will house the Interpretive Center, but still more is needed.

Looking for funds
The “Friends” are presently pursuing other sources of funds for furnishings and computer equipment for the facility and for the development of its surrounding area.
Also, the project has been given a name change. The facility will now be named the Maurice Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center in honor of Hinchey, who retired from United States Congress at the end of 2012.
On April 12, 2014, a group of Catskill organizations is sponsoring a Catskill Gateway Gala at the Ashokan Center to honor Maurice D. Hinchey and to raise funds for The Catskill Interpretive Center.
For more information on the gala call 845 586-2611.