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

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Closed For Now: State Budget Delayed, Brown Farm Shut Down 
The late Charles (37X) Kenyatta, associate of Malcolm X, poses
in front of the John Brown farm house in April 1999 (photo by 
L. DeCaro Jr.) 

Beginning today (May 17), New York is shutting down or keeping closed dozens of parks and historic sites because of the budget crisis.  That means the John Brown Farm State Historic Site in Lake Placid, along with other New York state parks are being closed.

The John Brown Farm, located just outside Lake Placid, is usually open for tours and other programs by May 1 but will remain closed for now, according to caretaker Brendan Mills. "We were holding out hope that the budget would be passed and we could open, but they had to go ahead with that," Mills said.

Most employees at the affected parks and historic sites are being transferred to facilities that will remain open, although Mills said he will continue to work at John Brown Farm and the site's grounds will remain open.

Mills admits he's frustrated that he can't do his job, "I want to give tours to their public," he said.  "I want to do my job to the fullest. We're just waiting for a budget."

The state budget, due April 1, is more than six weeks late.

State Parks spokesman Dan Keefe said the 55 New York parks and historic sites that will be shut down or won't open for the season are the same ones Gov. David Paterson slated for closure or service reductions back in February. Although the Senate and Assembly have voted to restore $11.3 million in parks funding Paterson wanted to cut, lawmakers have yet to adopt a state budget. "So at this point we have no alternative but to go forward with the [closure] plan," Keefe said.

He said there is a chance some of the parks or historic sites could reopen for the season if state lawmakers adopt a budget that restores funding for them.

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