Legislative sources are claiming a “handshake agreement” with Gov. Paterson to reopen the 41 state parks and 14 historic sites that were closed because of the state’s budget crunch.
“We have a tentative agreement that will keep parks open this weekend and for the remainder of the year,” said state Senate Democrats spokesman Austin Shafran.
Details of the deal are still murky, but sources said it involves taking about $6 million from the state’s general fund to keep the parks open. It would also restore funding to zoos, botanical gardens and aquariums that Paterson had proposed cutting in half.
Paterson administration officials say talk of a deal is premature but confirm that negotiations are progressing and an agreement is imminent.
“There is no deal yet, but I expect to get there today,” said a top Paterson administration official.
Sen. Jose Serrano, chair of the Senate’s Parks Committee, had been planning an 11:30 press conference to announce the deal, but that session has been cancelled.
“They need to work out the language,” said Serrano spokeswoman Juliana Hernandez.