Alliance for New York State Parks: Cuomo Budget Will Reverse Decades of Decline at State Parks and Historic Sites

Spending plan provides $33 million toward repairs, upgrades and restorations to Hudson Valley’s aging and deteriorating state park system.

State funds will boost Alliance’s public-private fundraising campaigns for Minnewaska and Fahnestock State Parks.

Decades of underinvestment and physical decline at New York’s 213 state parks and historic sites will be reversed and local private fundraising efforts will be boosted under a spending plan presented today by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

The Alliance for New York State Parks praised the governor and welcomed news that his proposed budget calls for an $89 million increase for repairs, upgrades and restorations at 48 state parks and historic sites, including 12 in the lower and middle Hudson Valley. The amount, including $33 million for state parks in the Taconic and Palisades regions, will be funded through the New York Works Infrastructure Fund.

“We applaud Governor Cuomo for recognizing that New Yorkers deserve parks they can be proud of, rather than a system defined by failing bathrooms and bridges, crumbling trails and stonework and outdated water and electrical systems,” said Erik Kulleseid, executive director of the Alliance for New York State Parks.

“Parks and historic sites are critically important to protecting New York’s natural resources and providing recreational and cultural experiences to the public. Often overlooked, however, is the important role they play in attracting regional tourism dollars,” noted Kulleseid. “This investment will provide long overdue repairs and upgrades to these destinations and in doing so provide a boost to local construction and engineering businesses.”

The Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) has identified a backlog of capital rehabilitation needs across the 213 state parks and historic sites. The list totals $1.1 billion, of which $461 million is associated with basic health and safety projects and $595 million with deteriorated and worn-out facilities in need of rehabilitation.

“The Alliance looks forward to working with the administration and OPRHP Commissioner Rose Harvey to find ways to augment public funding and leverage the state’s commitment though additional private fundraising in order to recover from decades of underinvestment in our state parks and historic sites,” added Kulleseid.

The Alliance for New York State Parks, a program of the Open Space Institute, is committed to the restoration, maintenance and support of New York’s state parks and historic sites. A primary goal of the Alliance is building stronger public-private partnerships. As such, the Alliance is supporting a number of capital campaigns at parks and sites throughout the state, including Minnewaska State Park Preserve and Fahnestock State Park.

The complete list of state park projects to be funded through the New York Works Infrastructure Fund is below:

Bear Mountain State Park $5,000,000
Rehabilitate and upgrade water and sewer systems that service Bear Mountain and
Harriman State Parks.

Rockland Lake State Park-Pool $5,000,000
Renovate leaks to avoid closure of pool that is frequently used by underserved
communities.

Mills-Norrie State park – Staatsburgh State Historic Site
$4,200,000
Restore the East Portico of Mills Mansion and repair the mansion’s leaking roof;
Also complete restoration of the historic Mills stone wall.

Bear Mountain State Park – Seven Lakes Drive $4,000,000
Repair and resurface the Seven Lakes Drive Road

Old Croton Aqueduct Trail Improvements $2,600,000
Rehabilitate failing bridges along the Old Croton Aqueduct .

Taconic State Park – Comfort Station $2,400,000
Reconstruct the park’s four deteriorating public restrooms.

FDR State Park $1,150,000
Rehabilitate deteriorated bathhouse facilities and repair the swimming pool, one of the
largest pools in the country.

Olana State Historic Site $1,500,000
Olana is among the most important historic sites in the state park system. Repairs to
Olana’s roof to eliminate leaks is critical to maintaining this unique structure.

Minnewaska State Park – Carriage Trails $1,000,000
Begin the next phase of rebuilding the park’s popular trails used for hiking, bicycling,
and cross country skiing.

Mills-Norrie State Park Marina $2,000,000
Some slips at the marina are currently unusable due to sediment build-up. Dredging to remove the accumulation will allow for full use of the marina.

Fahnestock State Park – Taconic Outdoor Education Center $1,000,000
The Taconic Outdoor Education Center has an outdated drinking water supply system,
and must be replaced in order to meet health code.

Harriman State Park $3,355,000
Infrastructure rehabilitation to renovate deteriorating camps used by underserved
children.

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