Sampson marina measure passed by state Legislature

posted Aug 7, 2016, 5:59 PM by Don Kloeber

From The Finger Lakes Times  July 5, 2016

ROMULUS — A bill authorizing the lease of the Sampson State Park marina to a private operator has passed the state Legislature and awaits the signature of Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

OPRHP Marina Study & Park Improvement Priorities

posted May 13, 2015, 6:48 PM by Don Kloeber

 May 13, 2015, Don Kloeber, Terry Bonter and Tim Talley met with NYS Parks Finger Lakes Regional Director Fred Bonn and Capital Facilities Manager Jeff McDonald in Trumansburg, NY.  The following is a summation of the meeting:


In 2014 OPRHP commissioned a detailed consultant study to answer two questions: a) Is there a market demand for a public marina on Seneca Lake at Sampson State Park? And b) How much would it cost for State Parks to reconstruct the marina?


The study concluded that, under current market conditions, there is public demand for a new marina at Sampson.


After reviewing 7 alternatives for a new marina, OPRHP has concluded the agency cannot commit the estimated $6.6 to $8.2 million to construct a new marina. Therefore, State Parks is adopting the following two-part approach:


1. This summer, State Parks will issue an RFP seeking a private marina concessionaire that would build and operate a marina at Sampson State Park. In the Sampson RFP, State Parks will commit $2.5 million of agency capital funding to support development of a new marina with the private operator providing the remaining capital funds. Expanded programming and sales that could add value to the project would be consideration of possible fuel sales, sundries and a seasonal restaurant. The agency would offer a long term lease to enable potential concessionaires to recoup their capital cost. If a private operator expresses interest in the marina, State Parks will diligently work to secure an agreement and expedite construction.


2. If the RFP process is not successful in attracting a private sector concessionaire to operate the marina, State Parks will then pursue plans to develop a day-use boat launch with transient docking for day-use boaters and to accommodate visitors staying in the park’s campground (seasonal marina slip rentals would not be provided). The consultant study determined this option could cost as much as $4.0 million. Given this level of cost, it will be several years before State Parks could commit funding. The agency will also seek grants from federal boating programs or other sources in order to undertake a project of this scope.


We were told (for those of you that recently wrote letters) that your voices have been heard and your advocacy on behalf of rebuilding the marina is appreciated. Our next meeting with Fred Bonn is tentatively scheduled for an undetermined date in June, subsequent to a coordinating meeting that Fred will attend with representatives from Empire State Development.


The attached file contains the full text of the parks findings & position.

FLT Our Opinion: Sampson marina repairs are important

posted May 5, 2015, 12:49 PM by Don Kloeber

From Finger Lakes Times Opinion Page Tuesday April 28, 2015
Michael J. Cutillo, Executive Editor

Recreation — whether by tourists or residents — is a vital component of the Finger Lakes’ economy, encompassing a broad array of activities, not the least of which involves boats. That’s not surprising. Traveling by boat provides a pleasurable way to experience the region, whether it’s to fish, enjoy scenic views or dock at a favorite restaurant. 
The economic ripples that begin at purchase follow the life of each boat — from fueling and stocking, maintaining and storing, even repairing and restoring. All that money changing hands adds up and supports a variety of businesses, transforming boating into an economic driver. 
To preserve that flow of goods and services, it behooves us to maintain the region’s marina infrastructure. It’s an investment in the larger economy. 
That’s why Friends of Sampson State Park deserve the public’s support as they lobby for repairs at the park’s marina. It’s been seven years since a state study determined that major repairs are necessary or the 103-slip marina might have to close. 
The marina, one of the key draws at the region’s largest state park that also features a large multiple-ramp launch site, needs disabled accessible docks; handicapped accessible restrooms; dredging in several areas of its basin; a reliable drinking water supply; new steel-sheet pile bulkheads and dockage structures; and dockage that properly accommodates the mix of boats that uses the marina. 

We urge readers to support the Friends of Sampson’s efforts and contact Gov. Andrew Cuomo and local state legislators and urge them to go forward with the repairs. Supporters also can go to and click on the banner “I Love My Park Day” to express support for the marina repairs. 
Neglecting the region’s marina infrastructure is a bit like poking a hole in one of those boats. At first, the situation doesn’t seem so bad. Who cares if a little bit of water leaks in? But as time passes and the hole gets larger, the threat of sinking grows. The regional impact of closing the marina is too great a risk to take. Ask the state to prioritize repairs at Sampson State Park.

Supporters ramp up push to save Sampson marina

posted Apr 24, 2015, 6:49 PM by Don Kloeber

Supporters ramp up push to save Sampson marina
By DAVID L. SHAW | Posted 4 hours ago
ROMULUS — The future of the 103-slip marina at Sampson State Park is uncertain.
Seven years ago it was identified as needing major repairs if it was to avoid possible closure. Friends of Sampson State Park have been trying to draw attention to the 36-year-old marina’s condition since the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation released that information.
The deficiencies still exist today. With the ongoing “I Love My Park Day” theme in mind, Friends of Sampson want people to contact Gov. Andrew Cuomo and local state legislators and urge them to go forward with the repairs. In addition, supporters are asking people to go to and click on the banner “I Love My Park Day” to express support for the marina repairs. Also, the Friends of Sampson and the group’s marina committee are inviting the public to assist with planting flower beds at the Route 96A park. Planting day is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 2.
“Please help preserve this wonderful park as we celebrate the end of the long, cold winter and welcome the boating and camping seasons,” Tim Talley, co-chairman of the marina committee of Friends of Sampson State Park, said in a press release.
The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation commissioned an engineering study and market demand study to provide a list of options and cost estimates for repairing the marina. The results of those studies have yet to be released to the public. Supporters are hopeful the parks office will highlight the potential and “tremendous economic opportunity” the improvements would have on tourism and boating safety.
“State parks did commission a study on the Sampson marina,” said Public Information Officer Randy Simons in the same press release. “However, it is still in development and not complete at this time. Simons hinted that the study may be ready this summer.
The following marina deficiencies were identified as needing repair: • Inaccessibility to the docks by the disabled. • Non-handicapped accessible restrooms. • Deteriorated steel-sheet pile bulkheads and dockage structures. • Dockage that does not properly accommodate the mix of boats that use the marina. • A marina basin that requires dredging in several areas. • An unreliable and often undrinkable water supply.
The park began life as the Sampson Naval Training Station at the start of World War II. It was the second-largest Navy training facility in the country, with more than 411,000 recruits trained from 1942-46. After the war, it served as Sampson State College for returning service members. During the outbreak of the Korean War, the Navy transferred ownership to the Air Force as a basic training base. Ownership was transferred to the state park system in 1960, and Sampson State Park opened in 1963. In 1995, a military museum was added to share the history of the service members who trained there. Today, it is the largest park in the Finger Lakes region, with more than 300 campsites.
More informationFor more information about Friends of Sampson State Park, visit

Friends of Sampson Announce 2014 Lights of Remembrance

posted Dec 3, 2014, 11:55 AM by Don Kloeber

Every Year The Friends of Sampson State Park decorate a tree at the park entrance with colored light in remembrance of loved ones.  Individuals wishing to remember a loved one are encouraged to print and send in the attached form.  Donations are recognized at several different levels by the corresponding light colors displayed at the Sampson State Park entrance on Rt 96A through the holiday season.

Assemblyman Palmesano Supports Efforts to Save Sampson Marina

posted Nov 24, 2013, 10:51 AM by Don Kloeber

After meeting with the Friends of Sampson and a July 6, 2013 tour of the facility, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano has pledged his support for the marina refurbishment.  Assemblyman Palmesano had met with OPRHP Commissioner Rose Harvey and has written her to confirm his support for the project.   

See the full text of his letter for additional details

OPRHP Announces Feasibility Study of Sampson Marina

posted Nov 24, 2013, 10:37 AM by Don Kloeber

May 24, 2013  

Andy Beers Executive Deputy Commissioner OPRHP

As part of the agency's 2013-14 Capital Program, State Parks has allocated funding to complete a feasibility study to review future options for the marina.  The feasibility study will review a range of potential options that will include: rebuilding the marina in it's current configuration; constructing a different type of marina; adding marina amenities; or decommissioning the current marina and replacing it with a smaller boat launch facility....  for more see the full text

Boat US Expresses Support for Sampson Marina

posted Nov 24, 2013, 10:27 AM by Don Kloeber

 Boat US - with more than 500,000 members - is the nation's largest organization of recreational boaters.  The Boat US Governmental Affairs Office has urged NY Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to support refurbishment of the Sampson marina.

Boaters, campers work to keep park open

posted Nov 24, 2013, 10:26 AM by Don Kloeber

Elmira Star-Gazette Sunday Sept 11, 2011  Town and Country:
Boaters, campers work to keep park open

Yvonne Drake, of Big Flats, eagerly makes the hour-plus drive to Sampson State Park on Seneca Lake many times during the summer.  So Drake was upset to learn that the marina at Sampson, where she and her husband rent a boat slip, needs major repairs and could be in jeopardy of closing.  It's a move that would affect quite a few people from the Twin Tiers, Drake said."There are other people from Chemung County that I know of. They still travel from Pennsylvania to Sampson," she said."Some travel two or three hours each weekend. Some have been in the marina over 20 years. It's really that good of a place to be. They feel it's worth the travel."

Sampson State Park near Romulus is among several facilities the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation identified as needing major capital investment.  The problem is the state doesn't have nearly enough money to go around, leaving the future of the popular marina in doubt.  A consultant study identified between $2.5 million and $5 million in repairs that need to be done to the marina, said Jeff McDonald, regional capital facilities manager.  For much of the needed work, the state would have to put a dam across the mouth of the marina and empty it, said Tim Joseph, state parks regional director.  "Once you do that, you might as well do everything that needs to be done," Joseph said.  "Once we get a new design with hopefully a lower price tag, we'll start talking about how we are going to get the money to do this.  "We certainly think it's worthwhile to figure out how to keep it open. It's a great public amenity," he said.  "A lot of people do use it. It's the only marina right on the lake. Others are set back up a canal or creek or something. It brings in tourism revenue both to the park and to local communities. It doesn't bring in enough to pay for itself, and that's in the nature of park facilities."

At 2,000-plus acres, Sampson State Park is the largest state park in the Finger Lakes region and features more than 300 campsites and a 103-slip multi-use marina.  Last year, a group called the Friends of Sampson Marina Committee circulated petitions seeking support for keeping the marina open and fixing it up.  The committee collected about 1,000 signatures, with nearly 25 percent coming from the Elmira-Corning area, according to Don Kloeber of Horseheads, co-chair of the group.

"A number of slips are already condemned that are not usable because of low water and obstructions. The second major issue is structural on almost all docks. The steel supports are corroded away," Kloeber said.  "It really needs to be shut down, dredged and started over. It's a significant investment. But it's almost 50 years old. Our feeling is, its time to reinvest and rejuvenate."  The committee is willing to work with the state to write grant applications and look for alternate funding sources, and also urges residents to contact their state legislators about the issue.  Even though the marina doesn't entirely pay for itself, it's a very worthwhile investment, Kloeber said.  "We want to make sure they understand the magnitude of the impact on both campers and boaters," he said.  "Just from boaters, 75 percent occupancy brings in over $100,000 in revenue immediately, but about $350,000 to $500,000 for local businesses.  "They collected revenues for 50 years on that marina and have put essentially nothing back into it," Kloeber said. "That's the unfortunate part."

Jeff Murray is a staff writer for the Star-Gazette. Town and Country appears every Sunday in the local section. If you have any items of interest from suburban and rural Chemung County communities, call Jeff at (607) 271-8251. You can also fax items at (607) 733-4408, or send Jeff an e-mail at

Free Loaner Life Jacket Program

posted Mar 22, 2012, 5:37 PM by Don Kloeber   [ updated Mar 22, 2012, 5:50 PM ]

Friends of Sampson Marina Committee Announce Free Loaner Life Jacket Program

A recent sponsoring grant by Seneca Meadows, Inc and donations by BassPro Shops and The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has enabled the Friends of Sampson State park, Marina Committee to  begin offering free loaner life jackets to boaters at Sampson State Park.

Please view the complete announcement below.

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