The Senate delayed action Monday on legislation that would have directed the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to keep all state parks open. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Jose Serrano, D-Bronx, does not include provisions for the money it would take that agency to do that.
The state closed 37 parks and 14 historical sites today, including the Donald J. Trump State Park in Westchester County, Newton Battlefield State Park in Chemung County, and Hamlin Beach State Park in Monroe County. Fourteen historic sites have been closed, and the state made service reductions at 23 other parks and one historic site.
Forty-one parks were originally slated to close, but the state Parks Department announced today that four parks would remain open as a result of either private donations or a county taking over operations, spokeswoman Eileen Larrabee said. Orleans County is taking over operations at Oak Orchard State Marine Park. The other three parks are on Long Island.
The parks have been closed while negotiations continue on how to close a $9.2 billion budget gap for the current fiscal year. The budget is now more than six weeks late.
This is the wording of the legislation, which is sponsored in the Assemblyman Steven Englebright, D-Suffolk County:
Introduced by Sens. SERRANO, ADDABBO, AUBERTINE, BRESLIN, KLEIN, MAZIARZ, MONTGOMERY, ONORATO, OPPENHEIMER, PARKER, SCHNEIDERMAN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation -- committee discharged and said bill committed to the Committee on Finance -- reported favorably from said committee, ordered to first and second report, ordered to a third reading, amended and ordered reprinted, retaining its place in the order of third reading AN ACT in relation to requiring the office of parks, recreation and historic preservation to operate and maintain all state parks and historic sites under its jurisdiction during the fiscal year that ends March 31, 2011 pursuant to the same seasons of operation, hours of operation, service levels, and public access to facilities as were implemented at the beginning of the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2010 The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem- bly, do enact as follows: 1 Section 1. For the state fiscal year beginning April 1, 2010, the New 2 York state office of parks, recreation and historic preservation is 3 hereby authorized and directed to operate and maintain all state parks 4 and state historic sites under the office's jurisdiction pursuant to the 5 same seasons of operation, and at least the same hours of operation, 6 service levels, and public access to facilities as were implemented at 7 the beginning of the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2010. 8 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.