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Fundraising campaign launched for Letchworth center

Rochester Business Journal
May 15, 2014

A fundraising campaign was launched Thursday for a $4.8 million nature center at Letchworth State Park.

Organizers hope to raise at least $1.6 million, officials said.

The 5,000-square-foot facility will provide year-round educational and interpretive programming to 750,000 visitors to the 14,000-acre park annually, officials said.

Work is expected to begin next spring, with the center slated to open in spring 2016, officials said.

“Letchworth State Park is one of the crown jewels of our state park system,” said Rose Harvey, commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, in a statement.

“Providing a year-round facility where our patrons can learn more about the unique geology and history of this park is long overdue.”

Planning for the nature center began five years ago. Some $2 million in state funding is earmarked for the project, officials announced last month.

Another $650,000 in state money will be used to reconstruct the park entrance in Castile, Wyoming County; $500,000 will be used to rehabilitate stone masonry trails and stairs in the park; $500,000 will be used to repair and resurface park roadways; and $360,000 will be used for bridge and repairs, officials said.

The design of the nature center was funded by $288,000 in state grants and funds secured by the New York City-based Open Space Institute through the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council in 2013.

The state will provide $2 for every $1 in private funding, officials said.

Some $1 million in private donations and pledges already has been secured, including $300,000 from Peter Humphrey, chairman of the Genesee Regional Parks Commission and the Letchworth Nature Center Capital Campaign.

Five Star Bank, M&T Bank Corp., the Bank of Castile and Friends of Letchworth State Park also have contributed.

“For generations, families like mine have been great supporters and patrons of Letchworth State Park,” said Humphrey, the former president and CEO of Financial Institutions Inc. and subsidiary Five Star Bank.

“We are excited to support this project that will enrich this special place and help visitors better appreciate and understand the magnificence of Letchworth.”

(c) 2014 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

What You're Saying 

John Osowski at 6:37:31 PM on 5/16/2014
That's great that Letchworth is planning this new facility and other critically needed infrastructure repairs. Unfortunately I did not see the postponed repair of the closed for 5+ years south swimming pool on the list of other projects. This project was designed and shove...  Read More >

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