09.19.18

GILLIBRAND, SCHUMER ANNOUNCE THAT LEGISLATION TO BEGIN PROCESS OF CREATING NATIONAL PARK SERVICE SITE AT FORT ONTARIO PASSES SENATE AND NOW HEADS TO PRESIDENT’S DESK FOR FINAL SIGNATURE

Gillibrand’s Legislation to Commission a Study for Fort Ontario in Oswego County is the First Step to Designate the Site as a National Park Service Site 

This Legislation Passed the House Earlier This Year and Now Heads to the President’s Desk for Signature 

National Park Designation Would Open Up Federal Resources to Preserve Fort Ontario and Draw Increased Tourism to the Area

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Senate unanimously passed their legislation, the Fort Ontario Study Act. This legislation would authorize the National Park Service (NPS) to conduct a study to assess the feasibility of incorporating the Fort Ontario and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum in Oswego County as a unit of the National Park Service. Gillibrand introduced this legislation in the Senate and Schumer is an original cosponsor. Representative John Katko introduced the identical companion bill in the House of Representatives. This study is the first step to designate Fort Ontario and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum as a national park service site. This designation would open up new federal funding and resources to Central New York, including federal funding for conservation of the site and would help to increase tourism to the area. This legislation has also passed the House of Representatives and is now headed to the President’s desk for signature.

“Fort Ontario and Safe Haven National Refugee Shelter Museum are an important part of New York State’s long and rich history, and I’m very excited that my legislation to begin the process of designating this site as a National Park has passed Congress. For centuries, Fort Ontario has been at the center for many defining moments in our nation’s history – beginning during colonial times and also serving as the only shelter for Jewish survivors of the Holocaust,” said U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “A national park designation for Fort Ontario and Safe Haven National Refugee Shelter Museum would help further preserve this Central New York treasure and I urge the President to sign this bill into law.”  

“It’s essential to preserve the rich history of the Fort Ontario and Safe Haven Holocaust Refuge Shelter Museum by officially designating this location as part of the National Park System. This legislation that I cosponsored is a vital first step in giving the site the recognition it deserves and protecting it for future generations,” said U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer“Achieving recognition from the National Park Service will allow people to learn about the vast history of this site and attract new visitors to the area. I will continue to work hard in the Senate to ensure that official recognition becomes a reality.”

The Fort Ontario Military Complex dates back to the early 1840s and is built on the ruins of three earlier fortifications from the French & Indian War, Revolutionary War, and War of 1812. Fort Ontario is now a part of the NYS Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. The Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum commemorates the 982 European refugees who called Fort Ontario home in 1944 after President Franklin D. Roosevelt invited them as his “special guests” creating an emergency shelter to maneuver around the difficult immigration policies of the time.

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