The one-house budget resolution passed by the Republican controlled NYS Senate last week denies $92.5 million in funding for state park and historic site repairs and upgrades included in the Executive and Assembly budgets.
Advocates say the funding, which builds on the $200 million provided over the past two years, is critical to revitalize New York’s beleaguered system of state parks and historic sites, which saw a record 60 million visitors last year.
A joint statement issued to the press by Robin Dropkin, Executive Director of Parks & Trails New York, and Erik Kulleseid, Executive Director of Open Space Institute’s Alliance for New York State Parks says that the Senate budget plan would halt long overdue repairs and upgrades that have been put off for decades. To our knowledge, no similar statement has been issued by any historian or advocate for history or historic preservation in New York State.
Parks & Trails New York advocates statewide for New York’s parks and trails and has been dedicated since 1985 to improving New Yorkers health, economy, and quality of life through the use and enjoyment of green space.
No organization exists that advocates on behalf of the New York State historical sites in the New York State Legislature. There is no statewide event, such as a New York History Month, which acknowledges or advocates on the behalf of the state’s historic resources.
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees New York State’s 38 state-designated historic sites. Twenty-two are also National Historic Landmarks of the United States.
In 2010, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced that it would close indefinitely nearly half of the state operated historic sites, citing lack of funding from the state legislature. Several months later, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named New York State Historic Sites to its 2010 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
Paul M. Bray says
I agree about the value of NYS parks and historic sites but let us not forget the 20 state designated heritage areas that are codified in law and are intended to be governed in a partnership with state agencies. NYS heritage areas were the model for the 49 National Heritage Areas that celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first NHA in 1984. The heritage areas support historic preservation and enhance public understanding and enjoyment of historic/heritage assets amongst other values.
It is an absolute disgraceful for Governor Cuomo with the support and encouragement of the State Parks Agency and the indifference of the Parks and Trails NY and the Alliance for NY state parks to not fund or support state heritage areas. More later.