October 10, 2018
Press Release

Syracuse, New York — Yesterday evening, bipartisan, bicameral legislation introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. John Katko, the Fort Ontario Study Act, was signed into law by President Donald Trump.

“Since coming to Congress in 2015, putting Fort Ontario on the path to becoming a National Park has been among my top priorities.  Fort Ontario and Safe Haven National Refugee Shelter are important sites both in our regional history as well as the history of our country,”said Rep. John Katko.  “I could not be more enthused that this bill is now law and our treasured landmark is on its way to being nationally recognized.”

“Fort Ontario and its tremendous history represent many important chapters in our nation’s heritage,” said Oswego County Legislature Chairman Shane Broadwell. “Congressman Katko has been steadfast in his efforts to elevate the fort and the Safe Haven Holocaust Refugee Shelter Museum to National Park status. The official approval of the Fort Ontario Study Act is the next step in that process. Congressman Katko made this one of his priorities, and he kept his promise.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said, “We are grateful to the Congressman for his unwavering efforts to move passage of the bill through the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and achieve signature by President Trump. It’s truly a reflection of our democracy in action.”

The Fort Ontario Study Act advances Fort Ontario and Safe Haven National Refugee Shelter in Oswego in the process to become a National Park.  It commissions a special resource study of Fort Ontario and Safe Haven in Oswego County to evaluate the site’s national significance and determine the suitability of its designation as a part of the National Park system.  This study is a prerequisite for receiving National Park designation.  The legislation passed the House was the first bill that Rep. Katko reintroduced during the 115th Congress, and it passed the House in January 2017.

Last month, Rep. Katko celebrated passage of the bill by both houses of Congress at Safe Haven with local stakeholders and elected officials.