NORTH HUDSON — Conversion of the defunct Frontier Town theme park into a new Adirondack tourism hub has begun.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office on Wednesday announced the start of work on a campground, equestrian facility, a day use area and a brewery. A total of $25 million in public and private investments have been committed so far to the project, according to a prepared statement, and the all-season day-use area is expected to be open by autumn 2018.
The campground and equestrian areas are expected to be fully operational by the summer of 2019.
The project was announced by Cuomo during his 2017 State of the State address and has been in the works ever since, with the state partnering with the Open Space Institute and five municipalities near the Frontier Town site.
The Chazen Companies created a blueprint for a new recreation hub that would offer new amenities, expand public access and draw more visitors to the region.
A key part of the master plan is a $19 million state allocation through NY Works to develop a new Department of Environmental Conservation campground that includes equestrian camping and day-use areas on about 91 acres owned by the town of North Hudson and Essex County.
As part of the project, Empire State Development partnered with Paradox Brewery to build a brewery and tap room at the site, further encouraging regional tourism and creating jobs in the process, according to a prepared statement.
Paradox was founded in 2013 about a dozen miles south in Schroon Lake. Responding to growing demand for its products and a need for more space, it purchased 11.2 acres at Frontier Town and will invest a total of $5.2 million in the new facility.
ESD is providing $200,000 through a North Country Regional Economic Development Council grant and $300,000 in performance-based Excelsior Jobs Program tax credits for the creation of 22 jobs by Paradox.
Also in 2017, ESD issued a request for proposals to develop and operate additional tourist destinations near the site. That remains a work in progress.
The Development Authority of the North Country is providing Essex County with $500,000 through the North Country Redevelopment Fund for demolition work at the Frontier Town site, which, after decades of disuse, had been reduced to a forlorn collection of rotted wooden structures.
The surrounding region is sparsely populated, but the old Frontier Town sits right at Northway Exit 29, readily accessible to long-distance travelers.