The state has issued a request for proposals to convert the former Frontier Town theme park at Northway Exit 29 into a visitor gateway for that part of the Adirondack Park.
Empire State Development, the state’s economic development agency, this week issued a request for proposals of design and development of a regional visitors center complex for the nearly 300-acre site, with responses due to July 28.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the $32 million plan in January, and got funding included in the state budget, with the stated goal of increasing tourism in a part of the Adirondacks away from the High Peaks, which have become crowded on many weekends, including large crowds expected for Memorial Day weekend.
“The redevelopment of Frontier Town will be a major step forward in making Gov. Cuomo’s ‘Gateway to the Adirondacks” master plan a reality,” Empire State Development Commissioner Howard Zemsky said in a released statement on Friday. “The site has already generated interested and we will be looking to select the proposal that will successfully achieve the goals of increasing tourism, promoting job creation, and strengthening the North Country regional economy.”
The site is in the tiny town of North Hudson, just a few minutes from tens of thousands of acres the state has acquired for permanent protection in recent years, including the Boreas Pond Tract and the Essex Chain Lakes property.
Plans developed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation include development of a public campground, equestrian center and public day-use areas a the site, which borders the Schroon River.
The one-time western-oriented theme park was popular for decades, but closed in 1999. It is now owned by Essex County, due to unpaid back taxes, and by the town of North Hudson. Both the county and town support the state’s plans to redevelop the site. The plan has broad support from local officials, and some environmental groups also back the plan.