ONEONTA, 12/09/10 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I–Oneonta) is calling on the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to consider alternative strategies to keep the Rogers Environmental Center in Sherburne open.
“Rogers Environmental Center is a valuable educational asset not to mention a treasured outdoor recreational site,” said Senator Seward. “The center boosts the quality of life for residents and visitors alike and enhances the local economy; a true upstate jewel.”
Following a summit of local stakeholders and members of the Friends of Rogers Center, Senator Seward sent a letter to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation voicing specific concerns. In the letter, Seward asks a number of questions including:
1. Will the DEC work with local organizations to maintain programming using volunteers and other organizations?2. Will the facility be available for the use of organizations?3. What is the DEC’s intent for allowing the public to use the building and grounds?4. If local citizens and officials offer a use/re-use plan for the facility, will the DEC entertain proposals to maintain the exhibits and permit use of the facility?
Established in 1909, The Rogers Environmental Center serves about 70,000 visitors a year, many are part of school groups that make regular educational field trips to the facility. The center director and four staff members are targeted as part of the governor’s planned 900 statewide layoffs scheduled to take effect on December 31st.
“New York is in dire financial straits, and while cuts are appropriate and necessary, the governor’s action seems to disproportionately strike at upstate and the environment. By looking at creative alternatives and working together with local officials, I am confident some level of programming can be salvaged allowing Rogers to continue as a valuable multi-use resource for generations to come,” Seward concluded.