Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Closing historic sites in Ulster would cost the county millions, says county comptroller

KINGSTON – Should the Senate House, Minnewaska State Park and the Walkway Over the Hudson close completely or partially as proposed in the state plans to help curb the state deficit, it would cost Ulster County tens of thousands of dollars.

County comptroller Elliott Auerbach ran the numbers and said it would cost the county over $250,000 in sales tax and tens of thousands of dollars in hotel and motel occupancy tax.

“I have to believe that the governor is, as someone said, looking for change under the sofa cushion in an attempt to keep New York State afloat,” said Auerbach. “What he fails to take into consideration is the huge financial blow and larger economic impact these closures will have on Ulster.”

Aside from the economic impact on the county, 42 fulltime and seasonal employees would get the axe.

Auerbach suggested that instead of shutting down the facilities, that Senate and Assembly members trim back 10 percent of their member items to keep the park venues fully operational. He also suggested the state seek corporate underwriters to fund the historic venues and parks instead of shutting them down.
(Copyright © 2009 Mid-Hudson News Network, a division of Statewide News Network, Inc)

1 comment:

Carl Chipman said...

You are 100% correct Elliott. Studies show that each dollar the state spends on parks returns $5 to the local economy. The average person visiting Minnewaska State Park Preserve spends between $17 to $35 locally. Multiply this by the estimated 225,000 visitors last year at the park and the effects of closure on the local economy and sales tax revenue are readily apparent.

I find it an affront that Governor Patterson is suggesting that the only way to prevent state park closures is to take the money from the Environmental Fund. This is just plain wrong. That money is dedicated for the environment and should not be touched. Trimming member items and eliminating mailings from our members of the Senate and Assembly would provide more than enough funds to keep our parks open.

We have passed a resolution at our Rochester Town Board Meeting opposing the closures and I brought a resolution to the Shawangunk Scenic Byway Coalition which successfully passed to voice our opposition to the Governor's plans. I urge everyone to voice their oppositon to these closures to the Governor and our NYS elected official.