Proposed Spending Plan Confirms Cuomo’s Outstanding Commitment to Restoring New York’s Great Parks
Albany, NY – January 23, 2013 – New York’s 214 state parks and historic sites are in line for another round of capital investment to repair, restore and improve the system’s aging and outdated facilities, thanks to a $90 million infusion included in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed state budget for 2013-14. The spending commitment is comprised of $45 million from New York Works, with the balance coming from unspent appropriations from prior years. In addition, the governor calls for making $20 million in additional funds available to state parks and the Department of Environmental Conservation under the Environmental Protection Fund.
“Governor Cuomo is pursuing a wonderfully aggressive program to upgrade the physical condition of our parks, responding to rising visitation rates and improving the overall visitor experience at our state’s leading natural attractions. On behalf of the more than 60 million people who visit state parks each year, we thank him for this ongoing commitment,” said Erik Kulleseid, director of the Open Space Institute’s Alliance for New York State Parks program. “This continuing commitment will also boost our efforts to raise complementary private dollars for our parks.”
"Between this renewed and long-overdue attention to state parks, the significant expansion of the Environmental Protection Fund and his thoughtful response to super storm sandy, both in terms of shoring up infrastructure and employing smart rebuilding tactics, Governor Cuomo is to be commended for making the protection of New York’s natural resources a funding priority,” said Kim Elliman, President and CEO of the Open Space Institute.
After decades of deferred maintenance and under investment in New York’s state parks, Governor Cuomo has renewed and confirmed his strong commitment to restoring the state’s once world class state parks, which today face a capital backlog total nearing $1 billion. Last year’s state budget included a historic $143 million in funding for state park capital improvements. To date, nearly all of that funding has been spent or is under contract for projects aimed at repairing and improving state parks and historic sites.
As state park visitation continues to rise, up five percent to 60 million visitors in 2012, the Alliance is also appreciative of Governor Cuomo’s renewed focus on tourism through a greater emphasis on a more regional approach to marketing the state’s tremendous assets – particularly upstate.
“With this allocation, Governor Cuomo continues to acknowledge the important role state parks play as natural, recreational and cultural destinations for New Yorkers and out-of-state visitors, alike,” said Kulleseid.
In addition to the proposed $90 million state investment, state parks are expected to see an infusion of significant federal funds for Super Storm Sandy repairs and clean up. A majority of this funding will be directed to Jones Beach State Park which suffered significant damage as a result of historic level sea surge and high winds.
Alliance For New York State Parks
518.427.1564 ext. 127