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OSI jumpstarts Master Plan for $32 million ‘Gateway to the Adirondacks’

NORTH HUDSON, NY (Jan. 24, 2017)—Building on plans commissioned by the Open Space Institute (OSI) and developed in concert with the State and local government partners, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a project to establish the “Gateway to the Adirondacks,” reinvigorating a once-popular theme park into a world-class tourism destination.

Late last summer, New York State and OSI, working in collaboration with five neighboring Adirondack towns, engaged a private firm to create a blueprint for a new recreation hub that would improve local amenities and draw increased visitors to this part of the Park. The resulting Master Plan was developed in partnership with the town of North Hudson, the five towns of the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub, the Empire State Forest Products Association, the Open Space Institute, and Essex County, whose industrial development agency will oversee operations.

Located near Exit 29 of the Northway in the heart of the Adirondacks, the future Gateway site once hosted Frontier Town, a theme park that has sat unoccupied for years. The state and its public and private partners will work together to secure the estimated $32 million in investments necessary to create a world-class tourism destination at the site.

“The development of this Master Plan is a testament to what can be accomplished through collaboration and effective public and private leadership,” said Kim Elliman, President and CEO of the Open Space Institute. “The shared commitment to expanding recreational access and enhancing economic activity throughout these communities underscores the value of land conservation as we introduce visitors to the millions of Forest Preserve acres that OSI and other groups have helped to preserve. Moreover, this new recreational hub will offer new opportunities for exploration and better disperse visitors.”

“New York State recognizes the critical need to put this strategic location to good use and we’ve been working with Adirondack communities, private businesses, and the Open Space Institute  to develop the Master Plan to guide its development,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Establishing the Gateway to the Adirondacks at this location, just east of the newly acquired Boreas Pond tract, will draw visitors to the Adirondack Park with opportunities for camping, recreation, and more.”

The Frontier Town theme park was built in the Adirondacks in 1952. For more than four decades, this entertainment destination was a boon to the local economy, drawing visitors from across the country.

In 2016, recognizing a critical need to invigorate the economies of these Adirondack communities, Governor Cuomo challenged OSI and five neighboring Adirondack towns to collaborate with the state to design a blueprint for a new recreation hub at this location, leading to today’s announcement.

The new hub will include:

  • A DEC campground and day use area along the Schroon River;
  • An equestrian camping and trail riding area, similar to DEC equestrian camping and riding facilities at Otter Creek and Brookfield, which are drawing visitors from throughout the eastern United States;
  • A Visitor Information Center to introduce visitors to the world class recreational opportunities in the Adirondack Park;
  • An Event Center with tourist accommodations and facilities for hosting shows and festivals;
  • Interactive exhibits in historic structures highlighting the past, present, and future of the Adirondack forest products and local food industries; and
  • Areas designated for commercial business development including those which provide food, lodging and amenities for visitors and those which can grow at this strategic location along the Northway corridor.

As a first step, the Department of Environmental Conservation will acquire a conservation easement on approximately 300 acres of land with support from the Environmental Protection Fund.

As part of the announcement, the Governor also announced that Paradox Brewery, a New York State-born craft beverage business, will expand its operations at the Gateway site, investing $2.8 million and creating 21 new jobs in North Hudson.

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