Progress To Date

The Water Discovery Center, chartered by the New York State Board of Regents, has been established as a 501c(3) organization. Through the support of the Catskill Watershed Corporation, The New York Community Trust, the Crossroads Foundation, and local businesses and individuals who have become charter members, we were able to purchase our site in June, 2007.

Architect Joe Hurwitz has completed preliminary design plans. Leonard Levitan, renown exhibit designer, is currently developing initial exhibit plans.


In January, 2009, Consult/Econ, Inc. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, updated our economic feasibility study for the proposed Water Discovery Center. Attendance projections employing a conservative mid-range formula anticipate 90,600 visitors.

Based on a comprehensive analysis of the market and comparable projects, ConsultEcon projects annual attendance in excess of 90,000 visitors, 25% of whom will range in age between 5 and 17. It is expected that 50,000 visitors to the Water Discovery Center will be tourists passing through the region, 70% coming from the greater metropolitan area of New York City. This high concentration of potential visitors from a single market area offer significant advantages in promotional efficiency.

Several important factors are in place creating a unique opportunity for the Water Discovery Center. Currently over 500,000 tourists visit the region primarily to participate in a wide range of outdoor activities including skiing, hiking, fishing, and tubing. The ecological concerns of these visitors present a natural synergy for visiting the WDC. In addition, there is a lack of competitive ticketed attractions.


Based on benchmark organizations and conservative estimates, the yearly budget of the Water Discovery Center will average $999,200. This sum will be supported by a projected annual earned income of $911,800. This revenue, which will cover 90% of expenses, will be derived from ticketed visitors, personal and corporate members, net proceeds from retail sales and rental income. The shortfall will be met by unearned income derived from contributions, sponsorships, grants, state and federal funding, and Discovery Center sponsored fundraising events. These revenue levels are fully within prevailing norms in the museum/discovery center industry.

The projected economic spin-off for the region is estimated to reach $11.5 million annually. This has the potential of providing a major economic boost to an area in need.


Ready to Take the Next Steps
The WDC has already attracted widespread interest, commitments of support, and verification of an urgent need to turn the concept of the Water Discovery Center into operational reality. For that purpose, we have a comprehensive fundraising plan in place that includes garnering financial support from appropriate congressional and state legislative bodies, federal, state and New York City agencies, selected corporations, foundations, philanthropic organizations and individuals.

In April, 2007, the Catskill Watershed Corporation, through its Fund for the Future, awarded a $1 million grant to the Water Discovery Center for the purpose of underwriting the capital campaign. These funds are currently being used to:

Conduct a 4-year capital campaign
  Identify and hire experienced capital campaign consultants who will guide the campaign.  
Provide Support Staff
Underwrite costs associated with clerical and technical support.
  Underwrite clerical support and fund raising consultation throughout three-year capital campaign.  
Develop Preview Center
  Prepare schematics, conceptual plans, illustrations, video walk thru and architectural models.  
Produce Solicitation Materials
  Develop full-scale marketing and communications program as well as underwrite capital campaign costs.  
Amortize Land Purchase



Our goal is to ultimately raise $25 million—an amount that will finance design and construction of the facility and exhibits, establish a fund to cover the first year of operation, provide for pre-opening promotion and publicity, and create an initial endowment.

Turning Concept Into Reality

Capital Costs

First-Year Operational Expenses   $1,000,000
Marketing Campaign   500,000
Endowment   2,500,000
Exhibit Costs*
    Research, Design, Productions Documents,
    Technical Planning and Specifications 2,500,000  
    Construction, Fabrication & Installation 8,500,000  
Building Costs**
  Professional Design 850,000  
  Site Development 1,100,000  
  Building Construction 8,050,000  
TOTAL   $25,000,000


* Figures based on Levitan Designs, Inc. Exhibit Designers, New York City
This firm has designed scores of high visibility exhibits internationally and in the United States and Canada. Clients have included NASA, the National Geographic Society, the National Aquarium in Baltimore and the Canadian Pacific Railroad, as well as the governments of Spain, Canada, Australia and eight international trade fairs for the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.

** Figures based on Joseph Hurwitz & Associates, Architect, West Hurley, New York
Hurwitz & Associates is a leading regional architectural firm in southern New York State with numerous "Best Building" awards to its credit. Their clients have included the Culinary Institute of America, The Cinamon Reef Resort in Anguilla and the Gyando Hotel in Nigeria. Mr. Hurwitz personally headed the team that designed the massive expansion of Newark Airport in Newark, New Jersey.


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