New tourist center named for Hinchey

"The center will be staffed through a partnership that includes the Friends of the Catskill Interpretive Center, the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development, the NY-NJ Trail Conference, the Catskill Mountain Club, Ulster County Tourism and the Catskill Mountainkeeper."

Former Congressman Maurice Hinchey attended the groundbreaking Tuesday for a tourist center in Shandaken that will bear his name. Hinchey first secured funding for the project back in the 1980s.PAULINE LIU/Times Herald-Record

SHANDAKEN — Talk about red tape. More than 30 years after Maurice Hinchey secured the original funding to build a tourist center in Shandaken, a groundbreaking ceremony finally took place.

On Tuesday, the former congressman joined Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens and local groups to celebrate the center which will bear his name.

The Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center is slated to be a 1,700-square-foot facility located off State Route 28. The project is expected to be completed next spring.....


The center is to serve as a gateway, providing visitors with information about the 700,000-acre Catskill Park. It is to be built on 62 acres that will include state trails, a fire tower, amphitheater, dog run and a picnic area.

Hinchey, 75, was an assemblyman when he secured the funding back in the 1980s. He received a standing ovation from a crowd of about 200, but made no speech.

"Hallelujah," said Hinchey, wearing his trademark broad smile.

According to Martens, the Adirondack Park already has two tourist centers.

"But there is none in the Catskill Park, and it always seemed to be the second fiddle. But now we're going to turn that around," said Martens.

The DEC-managed project is expected to cost $1.3 million in public funds, including a $380,000 federal Housing and Urban Development grant.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection has agreed to cover the center's operating costs for its initial five years, at $20,000 per year.

Shandaken supervisor Rob Stanley said he hopes the center will help the local economy by promoting tourism.

"They'll no longer be able call this the 'Road to Nowhere,'" said Stanley, pointing to the center's long driveway, which was installed years ago.

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