The early afternoon of August 30 provided the backdrop for U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer as he shared he has secured a $3.6 million boost in federal funding in pending legislation for two Yates County organizations: Saunders Finger Lakes Museum and Keuka College. Schumer announced that in the fiscal year 2024 Agriculture-FDA bill recently approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, $2 million will go towards the construction of the Saunders Finger Lakes Museum and $1.6 million for the creation of Keuka College’s new Rural Community Outpatient Clinic. The funding will come from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Community Facilities Program.
“This $3.6 million is the shot in the arm the Yates County economy needs to boost both its tourism industry and public health” Schumer shared with guests of the announcement, held on the deck of the Saunders Finger Lakes Museum’s Creekside Center barn.
The overall objective of the Saunders Finger Lakes Museum’s Capital Project is to create a four-walled space to support the mission of inspiring appreciation and celebrating the cultures and ecology of the vast Finger Lakes Region. Located on 30 acres of land in Branchport, this new build will create interior and exterior spaces and experiences that will enhance the current outdoor recreation and youth educational programming, adding world-class exhibits and dynamic interactive experiences for all ages.
Schumer said, “For years the Finger Lakes Museum has been a dream for this community, but now with this funding I have secured we are one step closer to finally making it a reality, bringing the rich history of the Finger Lakes region together in a new state of the art facility for tourists and future generations to enjoy for years to come.”
Natalie Payne, Executive Director of the Saunders Finger Lakes Museum, took the podium after Schumer, sharing that “We feel honored to be one of Senator Schumer and Senator Gillibrand’s priority projects for 2024 and applaud them both for their continued efforts in ensuring Congress allocates the people’s money to many worthy projects across our Nation including our own.”
Schumer went on to explain that the funding for Keuka College will be used to create a much-needed community resource providing primary care, counseling, athletic training, occupational and physical therapy, as well as wellness coaching. Amy Storey, President of Keuka College said, “The Rural Community Outpatient Clinic proposed by Keuka College would fill a vital role in an area of New York state with limited access to medical services. We are thankful for Sen. Schumer’s recognition of the need for additional wellness resources in Yates County and for his efforts to secure congressional support for a project that would serve thousands throughout our community.