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New Nature Center Planned for "Grand Canyon of the East"

Letchworth State Park has announced plans to construct a four-season nature center.

Local officials say this will enhance the visitor experience and provide an economic boost by attracting even more people to the park.

Lisa Burns is vice president of the office of tourism and marketing for the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce.

Burns says having an interpretive center at the park would add greatly to the visitor experience.

In addition to educational and recreational programs, colleges such as SUNY Geneseo would have classrooms at the center.

The park gets around 750-thousand visitors a year, and Burns says the center should increase that visitation.

Burns says Letchworth, called the "Grand Canyon of the East" is a major tourist attraction and economic generator for Livingston County.

The state has committed two million dollars for the nature center from the state budget, and a fundraising effort is also underway.

The total cost for the nature center is around 4.8-million dollars.

Groundbreaking is expected in the spring of 2015, and Burns says it will be built  in the southwest end of the park near the Trailside Lodge.