Willett Center Construction Begins
Contact: Michael Kusch, 315-336-4448
After more than 7 years of planning, construction on the Marinus Willett Collection Management and Education Center at Fort Stanwix National Monument is scheduled to begin. On Monday, March 29th representatives from the general contractor Structural Associates (SAI) will meet with city officials to discuss street signage and access to the work zone. Then on Wednesday the 31st surveyors will begin sighting the building location, and construction zone and fence line. Finally, on April 5th SAI will start mobilizing construction equipment and trailers, and put up the fence.
"We are very excited about this development," said Mike Caldwell, Superintendent of Fort Stanwix. "The many years of hard work are about to be realized." The Willett Center will better preserve the park's archeology collection; enhance visitor orientation to the park, city and county; provide support to special events such as the Honor America Days Concert; and, be open year round to welcome people. "We want to thank everyone who participated in the planning process. These people include National Park Service, city and county officials, contractors, and everyone who attended the public meetings and provided comments on the developing plans."
A visitor center was envisioned in the park's 1967 Master plan, but not realized until now. Beginning in the mid-1990s city, county, and park officials, and Congressman Boelhert initiated the planning process to make the Willet Center a reality. This early partnership was joined by the Oneida Indian Nation; the New York State Department of Transportation; the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; and, Eastern National. Eastern National is the park's cooperating association that runs the park's bookstore and sponsors many park events and education programs. The Willett Center is currently scheduled to open to the public in late-June or early-July, 2005.