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Massena agrees to join RiverQuest partnership

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MASSENA - The town and village of Massena have agreed to partner with the city of Brockville, Ont. on a tourist initiative called “RiverQuest,” which officials describe as a “regional campus” partnership comprised of 1000 Islands-area destinations and partners.

“We would become a quest,” Councilman Albert N. Nicola told board members this week. “It doesn’t require anything on our part. We don’t have to build anything.”

It also requires no financial contribution, according to Mr. Nicola and Mayor James F. Hidy, who had attended a presentation on the project four weeks ago as a follow-up to a visit they made last year to hear about the plans.

Mr. Hidy told councilmen the project includes an aquatarium, a Discovery Center in downtown Brockville with hands-on exhibits for kids, arena, a boardwalk and other features.

The Aquatarium, which was formerly known as the Maritime Discovery Centre, is a $20 million, 27,000-square foot tourist attraction to be located on Brockville’s waterfront alongside the Tall Ships Landing condominium development. The Aquatarium is a public-private partnership with the City of Brockville.

RiverQuest will help visitors find and pursue the attractions and offerings they are interested in as a follow-on to their Aquatarium visit. Organizers are focusing on tourism opportunities on both sides of the river, including Massena, Mr. Hidy said.

“It’s starting to get a lot of momentum. He mentioned Massena already has a silver bullet” with the St. Lawrence Seaway, New York Power Authority and two state parks, Mr. Hidy said. “They want to make Massena one of the destination points.”

Tourists would visit different destinations where they would learn about historical events at the site. Then they would have the opportunity to answer a series of computer questions to earn points.

“But they have to go to the next place. It empowers the tourist to go to the next site,” Mr. Hidy said. “They wanted to Massena to become one of their partners. They wanted no money.”

Instead, Mr. Nicola said, the project is being funded by provincial funds and private dollars. Both town and village officials approved resolutions this week to join the effort. Another meeting regarding the project will be held at the New York Power Authority’s Hawkins Point Visitor’s Center, according to Mr. Hidy.

“You’d be very impressed,” he said.

More information about the initiative and tourism opportunities is available at www.1000islandsriverquest.com.

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