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Seneca County revises funding strategy for new tourism hub in Tyre

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

The Seneca County Board of Supervisors has approved a significant amendment to the funding plan for a new visitor’s center in Tyre, changing the source of the funds to be allocated to the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce.

Initially, the county had proposed to pay an additional $50,000 per year for the next ten years from the portion of bed tax revenue reserved for various county initiatives. However, Ovid Town Supervisor Joe Borst introduced an amendment, subsequently passed by the board, redirecting the funding to come from the allocation given to the Chamber as the county’s tourism promotion agency.

This change in funding strategy addresses concerns raised about the original resolution. Borst explained that using the bed tax revenue would have required cutting support for other important projects, such as a tourism grant program, weed harvesting, watershed support, and assistance to the Friends of the Three Bears, as reported by Finger Lakes News Radio.

The amendment also delegates authority to County Manager Kyle Lovell to negotiate a lease agreement with the Chamber for the new center. This lease will require a two-thirds super-majority vote from the Board of Supervisors for approval, as it involves a 15-year lease agreement – 10 years with the annual $50,000 funding and the last 5 years without charge.

The visitor center project, to be located in the former Dr. Thomas Magee home at the intersection of Route 318 and Route 414, was initiated by the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce in 2019. The plan includes preserving the home’s exterior while renovating the interior, adding an extension, and constructing a parking lot.