Thursday, May 20, 2010

Park Closings/Service Cuts Not "Serious Issues" - Gov. Paterson

Bayswater Point State Park - Queens NY.- May 16, 2010.  The 12 acre natural area located in far Rockaway Jamaica, was closed over the weekend. Gov. Paterson's attempt to hold parks hostage has not endeared him to fellow lawmakers or to the public. (Photo By Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates)

With no budget deal in sight, one of Governor Paterson's cost-cutting proposals is receiving national attention. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.

According to the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Governor David Paterson's proposed reductions for state parks makes the Empire State the poster child for endangered parks and historic places.

"There are very few states where the situation is as dire as it is in New York State," said National Trust for Historic Preservation Northeast Director Wendy Nicholas.

More than 80 parks and historical sites are facing closures or a reduction in their hours because the governor wants to cut more than $11 million from their budget.

Speaking to legislative leaders during a meeting Tuesday, Paterson said he’s trying to send them a message.

"The reason we’ve had a bare-bones emergency appropriations is to try and get all of you to act on the budget," said the governor.

Instead, Paterson says lawmakers seem to be fixated on restoring funding to parks during an election year rather than focusing on the bigger budget picture. In a Monday meeting with Assembly Democrats, Paterson said concerns over park closures came up four times.

"When you start hearing ancillary discussions when you have the governor in your midst and you could be talking about the serious issues. You get the impression that people aren’t serious," Paterson said.

Lawmakers, however, say the governor is the one who doesn’t get it.

Read More:

NY 1 - May 19, 2010 - By Erin Billups

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