Seward, Butler Win Battle - Save Herkimer Home

ALBANY, 03/24/11 – State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I-Oneonta) and Assemblyman Marc Butler (R/C/I-Newport ) today announced that the General Herkimer Home historic site will open this year beginning with the rescheduled Sugaring Off Celebration on Sunday, April 17th.

“When it looked like the Herkimer Home would be closed and artifacts shipped out I vowed to do everything in my power to protect this vital piece of local history,” said Senator Seward.  “I am pleased to announce that I was able to secure $100,000 in an agreed upon state budget bill to provide for the immediate needs at Herkimer Home and begin future planning.”

“The outpouring of support from the local community and our fellow legislators has been heartening,” said Assemblyman Butler.  “We’ve said from the beginning that we understand the state needs to make some difficult budget decisions.  But it seemed that the impact of the decisions being made by the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) were especially harsh for the Herkimer Home and other upstate sites.”

Senator Seward and Assemblyman Butler convened several meetings with concerned stakeholders, including the Friends of Herkimer Home, the Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce, and local elected officials. Seward and Butler also met with parks & recreation Commissioner Rose Harvey to discuss both immediate needs and long range plans for the Herkimer Home.  Additionally, other state lawmakers including Assemblyman Steven Engelbright, chairman of the Assembly Tourism Committee, traveled to the Herkimer Home.

“Having a personal discussion with Commissioner Harvey was extremely advantageous and important to the process.  The commissioner has vowed to keep Herkimer Home open and provide necessary resources – we plan on holding her to the commitment,” added Senator Seward.

“Along with the state, an increased presence from the Friends of Herkimer Home is vital to the site’s future.  The volunteer group has really stepped to the forefront in this battle and committed themselves to a larger role as the primary caretaker for the home’s future.  I commend their commitment,” stated Butler.

“This is truly a united effort and everyone associated with the Friends of Herkimer Home is excited to embark on this new chapter,” said Barb Mielcarski, president of the Friends of Herkimer Home.  “The General Herkimer Home represents such a critical part of our heritage and history and the friends are pleased to see that so many people recognized its value.”

Under a tentative agreement with OPRHP the Herkimer Home will operate as a “satellite” site of the Glimmerglass State Park in Cooperstown ensuring:

• Gates and parking lots will be open from May to October;• Utilities to the site will remain on to provide necessary power and phones;• Landscape, including the cemetery, will be maintained;• The Erie Canalway Trail will be maintained and open to the public.

Staffing, hours of operation and additional details are still being finalized.

“The Herkimer Home is a prime part of our local history and an economic driver for our future.  Preserving and enhancing the site is vital and we are pleased steps are being taken to do so,” concluded Seward and Butler.

The Friends of Herkimer Home will conduct a public meeting for anyone interested in helping at the General Herkimer Home in a volunteer capacity.  That meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, March 30th beginning at 6:30 p.m.

The traditional start to the Herkimer Home season, the annual Sugaring Off Celebration, has been rescheduled and will be held on Sunday, April 17th from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.