After weeks of anticipation, the Equal Rights Heritage Center in downtown Auburn has released its opening date.
The $10 million welcome center on South Street will host a grand opening at 10 a.m. Tuesday with a "special unveiling," according to a Friday news release. State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey, Auburn Mayor Michael Quill and several state and community leaders will be present.
This long-awaited opening date announcement comes after a slight delay from city officials' original projections to be open by late October.
Quill had announced last week that the center was almost complete, but needed a couple more weeks to finish construction — which began in February. At that time, finishing touches, including a new statue of Harriet Tubman in the building's courtyard, were still in the works.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the project last year. It's being funded through the state's $500 million Upstate Revitalization Initiative for the central New York region. He said that the center will pay tribute to historical figures with area connections such as Harriet Tubman and William Seward, who lived in Auburn and fought for equal rights.
"We kind of like to say that the center is the welcome mat ... and Auburn (and) the region itself is actually the museum exhibits to go see," said Visitor Experience Manager Courtney Rae Kasper in October.
Kasper said that the center will be a hub for everything going on at the historical and cultural sites in Auburn and Cayuga County.
She described the center as an interactive experience, filled with exhibits detailing an overview of equal rights throughout the state, listening booths, a social justice video table and various iPad components. From the center of the ERHC, Kasper said there are large picture windows that highlight sites such as the Seward House and Memorial City Hall. The hope is the windows will spark people's interest and encourage them to experience the sites for themselves.
Following the opening, the center's proposed hours will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.