History, Research, and Current Themes

"The world needed John Brown and John Brown came, and time will do him justice." Frederick Douglass (1886)

Search This Blog & Links


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

John Brown Farm in Peril? N.Y. may close some historic sites

Call or write NOW!

Senator Betty Little

506 Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2811

Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward
LOB 940
Albany, NY 12248


Governor David Paterson's budget plan calls for cutting almost $30 million from the state's parks and recreation office. That would mean the closure of 16 parks in the Albany-Saratoga area. Two of those sites are in Essex County. The Crown Point historic site and the John Brown Farm would be forced to close if the Governor's plan is finalized.

Gov’s office says fate of parks like John Brown Farm, Crown Point Historic Site not yet decided

LAKE PLACID - Although there has been talk of lists of parks that could close in New York's proposed 2010-2011 budget, a spokesman for Gov. David Paterson stressed Monday that nothing has been finalized.
The Times Union of Albany reported Sunday that the John Brown Farm State Historic Site is on a list of parks that could be "closed or curtailed" if the legislature doesn't approve a proposed transfer of $5 million from the Environmental Protection Fund to a park operating fund, or refund it from another source. The Crown Point Historic Site is also on this list.

However, Paterson spokesman Morgan Hook said the state Division of the Budget and parks officials are still working on plans to meet the governor's savings targets, and talk of closing specific parks is premature.

"There is no list that exists right now of state parks that are going to be closed," Hook said. "Anybody who is distributing a list (to) different publications of what they say are the list of parks that are going to be closed is simply not accurate."

New York's proposed 2010-2011 budget includes cutting the operating budget of the state office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation by 16 percent, or $29 million. Parks Commissioner Carol Ash said at a budget hearing last month that some parks will likely close, reduce their hours or increase fees as a result of the budget, but didn't say which ones. At least two media outlets on Long Island are reporting that some parks there are on a closure list.

State Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, requested a list of parks that could close last week, said spokesman Dan Mac Entee, and was told at the time that no such list was available.

"It's clear that someone is giving lists to reporters, but these are not accurate lists," Hook said. "There's nothing final; a plan is still being developed. Any lists that have been published, they certainly haven't been lists that have been approved by the people that have the power to approve them, so they're really not even worth publishing."

Mac Entee said cuts are unavoidable, given the state of the economy, but that they can be done in a smart way.

"I think that (Little's) desire certainly would be for the agency as well as the legislature to work with any community that would be affected by a closure," Mac Entee said. "There's obviously an economic impact."

Mac Entee said legislators will be hearing, over the next several weeks, from communities that will be affected by cuts, asking for more information about the criteria used to decide where to cut or close, and discussing what to do in conference committee.

"That's why it's important we have an open public conference committee process, so that the public really understands what's happening before the budget is actually adopted," Mac Entee said.

New York's budget process has been criticized for years for the secretive "three men in a room" manner in which it is often drafted by the governor and by the leaders of the Senate and Assembly. Republicans have said the 2009-10 budget, drafted by three men who were all Democrats from New York City, was one of the most secretive in years, and most legislators on both sides of the aisle didn't see it until days before they were supposed to vote on it.


JamesHofsiss said...

Mr. DeCaro,

I just dicovered your blog today. I have become a "fan" of John Brown over the kast few years, ever since I read Evan Carton's "Patriotic Slavery". I have not yet had the pleasure of reading any of your work on Brown, outside this blog.
I recently wrote a short essay on John Brown for my college history class and would be very interested in your thoughts should you care to read it.
If you would, let me know your e-mail address and I'll send it along.
James Hofsiss

Louis A. DeCaro, Jr. . . said...

Thank you. I'll be happy to check out your essay. Email me at Alliance Theological Seminary.