Feds could withhold millions from New York because of park closures
The Times Union newspaper is reporting that federal officials are threatening to withhold millions of dollars from the state of New York if it proceeds with planned park closings.
The Paterson administration has announced it will temporarily close 41 parks and 14 historic sites in order to save the state $6.3 million.
In a recent letter to the governor, the National Parks Service Northeast Regional Director Dennis Reidenbach wrote that the move would put New York in "non-compliance" with the requirements for taking funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Federal Land for Parks Program.
Governor Paterson responded with a letter as well, saying that the state has no plans to convert the parks and will maintain them for public outdoor recreation use.
"New York, like all states, faces an historic fiscal crisis of unprecedented magnitude. It has demanded many difficult but necessary decisions to help ensure the fiscal integrity of our state," Governor Paterson wrote. "I trust that the National Park Service understands that no area of state spending, including parks and historic sites, could be exempt from reductions."
Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation commissioner Carol Ash will meet with officials from the National Park Service to further discuss funding.