MASSENA — New York Power Authority and state officials were on hand Friday morning to cut the ribbon for a new state parks administration building located next to the Nicandri Nature Center.
NYPA Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll, Massena Resident and NYPA Vice President Eugene L. Nicandri, and State Parks Commissioner Erik L. Kulleseid also planted a tree to celebrate Arbor Day.
The new Robert Moses State Park Administration Building will be used by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the State Parks Police. It will serve as the operations center for Robert Moses State Park and help employees maintain and improve the area.
The 6,700 square foot facility includes offices, change rooms and showers for use by parks staff, among other amenities. The facility shares the same mid-century modern design principles as the Nicandri Nature Center. In 2017, NYPA celebrated the opening of the nearby Nature Center, a public visitor center with miles of public outdoor space and surrounding trails that replaces a similar facility destroyed in a fire in 2010.
In addition to the new administration building, NYPA funded and supervised the construction of a 5,900 square foot maintenance facility that includes three garage bays, a carpentry shop, multiple storage rooms, and a vehicle elevator. The maintenance garage has been operational since January 2021.
Con Tech Building Systems, Governor, was awarded the construction contract in 2019.
Mr. Driscoll said NYPA was recognized as “the great energy project just down the road that generates low-cost, clean hydroelectricity.” However, he added, “As this new building demonstrates, NYPA is much more than a power generator or transmission builder. We are stewards of the environment and are responsible for many recreational projects here in the North Country.
As part of the Power Authority’s environmental justice programme, the Massena Housing Authority received new fridges for its tenants, improvements were made to the Massena water intake and improvements were made to Island View Park in Waddington .
“I would be remiss if I did not mention the opening of the Eugene L. Nicandri Nature Center next door that NYPA built and opened in 2017,” Driscoll said.
“NYPA is responsible for improving many recreational opportunities in the Northeast, including the sprawling Robert Moses State Park, but we don’t do it alone,” he said. “Robert Moses State Park was created when the hydroelectric dam was built over 60 years ago. Since then, NYPA has worked with our sister agency, the New York State Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation, to develop and maintain parks, beaches, campsites, and hiking trails, and to preserve the natural beauty of the region.
These facilities attract more than 114,000 visitors a year, he said, “and we look forward to another strong season this year.”
Mr. Nicandri, a retired St. Lawrence County judge, recalled the history of the New York Power Authority in the North Country when a transmission line was built in 1942 as part of the effort to war to serve the aluminum factory built by the government in Massena.
“This line is being reconstructed and extended and will continue to be a key artery of our statewide transmission network. Building our Smart Path and Smart Path Connect transmission lines is a priority for us as we lead the development and operation of transmission in New York State,” he said. “Now, as a longtime Massena resident and NYPA administrator, I have seen firsthand the many ways NYPA will serve the North Country through low-cost electricity programs, economic development and the development of recreational improvements.”
Mr Nicandri also touted the availability of recreational facilities through the Power Authority.
“Robert Moses State Park offers incredible facilities and attractions that were built and supported by NYPA. Beyond the natural beauty of the area, the park offers overnight campsites, hiking trails, beaches, boat ramps for the benefit of residents and visitors. The building we are unveiling today is designed to showcase and support the park’s many recreational activities. It is exciting for me to see this transformation that has taken place over the past few years. We have a wonderful nature center. I’m sure you’ve heard of it,” he joked.
He said the new building replaces the old construction trailers that have been part of the landscape since the construction of the energy project.
“We now have a campus here that would make New York mastermind Robert Moses proud,” Nicandri said.
Kulleseid said the new facility “is going to provide a welcoming place for our visitors” to Robert Moses State Park. He said it’s one of many Power Authority partnerships across the state.
“I don’t think our staff are happy to get out of trailers and into this facility,” he said. “I am grateful for the partnership with the New York Power Authority for the continued revitalization of Robert Moses State Park in the Thousand Islands. The park is a vibrant year-round destination, and our visitors will benefit immensely from the enhanced operational and law enforcement capacity that the new facility will provide. It is a spectacular destination in the north of the country.