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Lawmakers fight plan to close The Herkimer Home permanently

By CAROLINE GABLE

DANUBE, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Historic Herkimer Home has had an on again, off again status when it comes to staying open. The future of the home has been uncertain during tough economic times.

Senator James Seward and Assemblyman Marc Butler are not strangers when it comes to fighting for funding for The Herkimer Home, but this week they were caught off guard.

"We were very much surprised to learn that the plan is for a permanent closure and efforts are already being undertaken to move artifacts, furniture, looms, to remove those and take them to People's Island and that would be the end of the Herkimer Home. Many of us think if those artifacts leave Herkimer County they are never coming back," said Butler.

It costs the state $300,000 to operate the facility, but lawmakers say with a little help they could do it for less. One idea that would follow in the footsteps of other park sites around the state, entering into a public- private partnership to keep the home in operation. Not only is the site a historic land mark, people also come to The Herkimer Home to ride bikes, picnic, and even celebrate weddings.

"The last thing we want is for The Herkimer Home to close the gate, lock the building, and boarded up, and take artifacts and store them in some far off place. We will lose not only a good part of our heritage but the economic value of people wanting to visit The Herkimer Home," said Seward.

Both Seward and Butler plan to meet in two weeks time to try and work out a cooperative agreement with the state as well look at grants the site may be eligible for. It is all an attempt to keep the gates open to hundreds of years of history.

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