Slate Valley Museum unveils Phase II of project

By Jaime Thomas

Throughout the area, various factions have been emerging and approaching a common goal in different ways. Their aim: the revitalization of Granville.

The Slate Valley Museum is one such group, and the institute recently announced the second phase of its Cultural Campus Revitalization Project in conjunction with volunteers from Six Flags. The amusement park’s landscape designer, William Lee, created a plan that includes various gardens and a small amphitheatre.

Kate Weller, executive director of the museum, said some of the gardens will have themes to tie in with the museum, such as spices to go along with Italian immigrants, and it will be sustainable and reusable.

The amphitheatre, meanwhile, would be host to small musical shows and other events behind the museum.

“It will use the natural topography and contours of the land. We already have the natural features of the hill and then the flat area below. People could watch performances right in our back yard with the Mettowee River and Factory Street right behind,” Weller said.

Additionally, Weller said the trail that already goes from the Slate to the Pember Library and Museum could expand and become a “green thoroughfare that connects all these elements.”

“It would restore it after the flood and also make it more of a community space,” Weller said of the fully-encompassing project. “It’s about making Main Street the center of the town and the core of the community,” she said.

And Village Trustee Dean Hyatt, who also serves as water quality manager at Six Flags and has been a key player in the project, agrees. He said the Cultural Campus concept at the museum goes hand in hand with the Mettowee River Revitalization Strategy, which village and town officials created about four years ago.

“Every year you can see more and more improvements. It’s great stuff to see; it compliments all the hard work in the past,” Hyatt said. He had a large role in Phase I of the Cultural Campus project by suggesting his company’s employees clean up the museum as their annual volunteer day last fall.

“When I’m out using the Rail Trail I like seeing people using and enjoying what’s being created,” he said.

Weller said she also hopes to create a designated access point for the area locals use to enter the Mettowee River for kayaking or other purposes.

“The museum is here to serve the community—it brings people in. Having different options here makes the community stronger as a whole,” she said, explaining that Granville could be improved not only for those who live here but also as a tourist destination. She expressed gratitude to the local officials who have already begun this initiative.

“I can’t say enough about the department of public works and Dan Williams,” Weller said, mentioning Hyatt and Steve Krawczyk as well, both of whom “have been giving a lot of their time, energy and ideas.”

For Phase III of the project, Weller said she hopes to build a children’s playground area. She wants to give locals someplace within walking distance to go to.

“It’s a vision that encompasses all the answers to the needs everyone sees in the community. We want to create a pedestrian-friendly, natural, cultural, artistic and business district,” Weller said.

Weller is currently applying for grants to get the work started, but the museum is already halfway to raising the landscaping costs thanks to an anonymous donor. Businesses and individuals interested in sponsoring an individual garden can do so in honor or in memory of someone, and should contact the museum at 518-642-1417 to do so.

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