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ROTTERDAM: Mabee Farm gets ed center

Rotterdam Junction, a little hamlet in the western part of the town, has been receiving some attention lately because the Schenectady County Historical Society is planning to purchase 27 acres next to the Mabee Farm.

The society plans to build an educational welcome center called the George E. Franchere Center. Franchere was a Mabee descendant who set up a trust to financially support the Mabee Farm once it was turned over to the historical society.

President of the historical hociety Edwin Reilly Jr. said the Franchere Center has been planned for almost a decade. He hopes to break ground this summer. The center is expected to cost about $1 million to construct.

The Mabees were the first family in Rotterdam, and the farm dates back to the mid-1600s. It was sold to a Mabee in 1706 and was passed through the family for 287 years.

The historical society is a 501(c)(3) organization, which means it is exempt from paying property taxes, so the town won't benefit in that manner, but the society pays a small amount of taxes to the town for the fire and water district.

Reilly said the main benefit this project will have and the Mabee Farm already has is it brings people into the county from other places.

"Hopefully we will bring more people into the town, which will help to boost the economic vitality of Rotterdam Junction," Reilly said.

Mabee Farm site manager Pat Barrot said people come from across the country and some from other countries to visit the farm, which is only open from May through September.

Supervisor Steven Tommasone said any development in this area is a positive thing for the town. Tommasone and other town officials have been actively trying to revitalize the area that sits on the banks of the Mohawk River.

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