Assemblymember Didi Barrett secures $1 million in Assembly funding for Olana

(L-R): Sean Sawyer, the Washburn and Susan Oberwager President of The Olana Partnership; Assembly member Didi Barrett; NYS Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid; and Meredith Kane, Chair of The Olana Partnership’s Board of Trustees.

Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Dutchess/Columbia) joined with New York State commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid to announce that she has secured $1 million to support capital development plans for the Olana State Historic Site. This is the largest single grant from the Assembly to a New York State historic site.

The funds will be allocated toward the construction of the Frederic Church Center, a new visitor entry and orientation facility that will transform the visitor experience. The project is the linchpin of the site’s larger capital development plan being undertaken by the public/private partnership of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Olana Partnership.

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This sustainably designed, all-electric facility includes a spacious entry lobby for ticketing and orientation, a café, restrooms and a multipurpose room adjoining outdoor terraces and paths that connect to Olana’s historic carriage road network, making all 250 acres of the historic landscape an integral part of public interpretation. As the principal entry point for a National Historic Landmark and New York State Historic Site that attracts over 200,000 visitors annually, the Frederic Church Center will provide a highly visible, publicly accessible demonstration of sustainable design and carbon-neutral construction.

“Frederic Church is a singular historic figure who made his home here in our beautiful Hudson Valley and whose impact continues to be felt in the worlds of art, landscape design, architecture, agriculture, environmental conservation and beyond,” said Assemblymember Barrett. “I am proud to announce that I have secured $1,000,000 in funding to support the construction of the Frederic Church Center at Olana, a new state-of-the-art, sustainable center to welcome and orient local and global visitors. As our region continues to grow as a hub for diverse arts and cultural institutions, I look forward to seeing this pivotal New York State project move to its next phase. I thank New York State Assembly speaker Carl Heastie, the Olana Partnership and New York State Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for their partnership in this effort!”

The State Environmental Quality Review process is underway, and the project will be presented for public comment in early 2022. Anticipated to start construction in 2023, the Frederic Church Center will be the threshold to a fully restored Olana that will expand and deepen the visitor experience of this National Historic Landmark as a unique world-class destination at the intersection of American art and environmental consciousness in New York’s Capital Region.

For more information, visit www.olana.org/churchcenter.