John and Josephine Ingle, owners of Heron Hill Winery, are continuing the matching challenge grant donation of $200,000 with Seneca White Deer, Inc. (SWD) toward purchase of a portion of the former Seneca Army Depot, according to Dennis Money, SWD president.
The fund raising drive began with the generous matching challenge donation on December 22, 2015 and was previously set to expire February 29, 2016, when bidding on the former Depot property ended. Money said that SWD has submitted a bid with the Town of Varick to acquire the parcel of land that lies within the township’s boundaries to establish the Seneca White Deer Park, an ecotourism complex that will host a number of public activities and services for tourists year round. Money also believes the Park’s tourism draw will have a positive impact on the local economy from occupancy and sales tax revenues.
The Depot owners, the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), are selling up to 7,000 acres of the 11,000-acre former war munitions storage facility either in whole and/or in part. The bidding process has now closed.
Money stated: “We are very grateful for the tremendous support of the Ingles as well as the help from all of our backers.” He added that “SWD has solicited the assistance of an outside marketing and fundraising team to extend the group’s financial outreach into other areas of the country in order to meet the Ingles’ matching challenge. “
Seneca White Deer Inc., a 501(c) (3) not for profit organization, was formed in 1999 with the mission of conserving the abundant wildlife as well as preserving the history of the Seneca Army Depot. SWD believes strongly that the depot could be a positive economic engine for the Finger Lakes Region offering a unique tourism opportunity found nowhere else in the world.
SWD feels the former Seneca Army Depot belongs to all Americans. It is a crown jewel of a natural resource filled with abundant wildlife and a rich history. Please consider a donation for this very worthy effort.