Fundraising for Thacher Center passes halfway mark

The lobby of the Thacher Park Visitors’ Center will offer panoramic views. Fundraising efforts are now underway for the center.

NEW SCOTLAND — A year after a private fundraising campaign was launched to raise $1 million for a Thacher Park Center, more than half the goal has been reached, according to the Open Space Institute.

John Boyd Thacher State Park, which attracts more than 380,000 people every year, did not have a central welcome center. The center, to perch atop the Helderbergs, is being funded through a combination of OSI’s private fundraising campaign and public funds.

To date, the institute has secured a $220,000 matching grant through the Capital Region Economic Development Council and raised $313,950 in private funds including donations from TrustCo Bank, Stewart’s Shops, Times Union, M&T Bank, Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region, Hoffman Car Wash, and Jiffy Lube, according to a release from OSI.

The campaign organizers are now encouraging donors to sponsor a new bench, patio paver, or tree. Details are available on the park center campaign’s website,

The 8,240-square-foot center, near the trailhead and picnic area for the Indian Ladder Trail, will include:

— An information desk to help visitors explore the park’s trail network and other features;

— Exhibit areas to highlight the landscape’s fossil-rich geological history, as well the park’s development and use;

— A 1,340-square-foot multipurpose gathering space that can be reserved for special events;

— Public restrooms and park offices; and

— An outdoor patio overlooking the escarpment where visitors can take in the park’s views.

— Melissa Hale-Spencer

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