Tag Archives: OPRHP

27 Place Nominated for State, National Registers


By on

0 Comments

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash today accepted the recommendation of the New York State Board for Historic Preservation to add 29 properties to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.

A number of well-known locations that were recommended for listing on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, including the Fraunces Tavern in New York City; the Spitfire gunboat wreck on Lake Champlain (Essex and Clinton Counties); the Sherwood Equal Rights Historic District (Cayuga County); the Rushmore Memorial Library (Orange County); the Cornell Steamboat Company Machine Shop Building in Kingston; and the 1932 Olympic Bobsled Run in Lake Placid.

The New York State Board for Historic Preservation is an independent panel of experts appointed by the governor. The Board also consists of representatives from the following state organizations: Council of Parks; Council on the Arts; Department of Education; Department of State and Department of Environmental Conservation. The function of the Board is to advise and provide recommendations on state and federal preservation programs, including the State and National Registers of Historic Places, to the State Historic Preservation Officer, which in New York is the State Parks Commissioner.

The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York State and the nation. Official recognition helps highlight that state’s heritage and can enhance local preservation efforts. The benefits of listing include eligibility for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits. There are nearly 90,000 historic buildings, structures and sites throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts.

During the nomination process, the State Board submits recommendations to the State Historic Preservation Officer. The properties may be listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register by the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, DC. The State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Interior, jointly administer the national register program.

For more information about the New York State Board for Historic Preservation and the State and National Register programs as well as a complete list of the properties recommended in June, contact the Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau at (518) 237-8643, or visit the state parks web site at www.nysparks.com.

The recommended properties listed by county:

Albany County

1. St. Agnes Cemetery, Menands – the property was acquired in 1867 to accommodate the Albany Dioceses, it is the largest Catholic cemetery in the region.

Cattaraugus County

2. Beardsley / Oliver House, Olean – constructed c. 1890.

Cayuga County

3. Sherwood Equal Rights Historic District, Sherwood – a collection of 24+ buildings and sites associated with numerous social reform movements during the mid- to late 19th century, including abolitionism, the Underground Railroad, women’s rights and education.

Chemung County

4. Jacob Lowman House, Lowman – the farm was acquired in 1792 to Jacob Lowman (1769-1840), early settler, trader, farmer and founder of the hamlet of Lowman.

Cortland County

5. Cortland Free Library, Cortland – early 20th century library building.

Delaware County

6. Rock Valley School, Rock Valley – the one room school building was constructed in 1885 to meet the needs of a substantial population increase.

Dutchess County

7. Pulver – Bird House, Stanfordville – built in 1839 for Stanford farmer Henry Pulver by builder Nathanial Lockwood, Jr., a well known carpenter/builder active in the Hudson Valley.

Erie County

8. Concordia Cemetery, Buffalo – founded in 1859 as a collaborative effort by three German Lutheran churches and represents important aspects of Buffalo’s heritage of German immigration.

9. Trinity Episcopal Church, Buffalo – built between 1884 and 1886, Trinity Episcopal Church is the second oldest Episcopal congregation in the city.

Essex and Clinton Counties

10. Spitfire, gunboat wreck, Lake Champlain – the shipwreck site represents the last intact vessel of Benedict Arnold’s Revolutionary War fleet from the Battle of Valcour Island and has remained untouched at the bottom of Lake Champlain since 1776.

Essex County

11. 1932 Olympic Bobsled Run, Lake Placid/North Elba – the bobsled run at Mt. Van Hovenberg was one of the prime construction projects for the 1932 Winter Olympics and the first and only one and one half mile long bob run ever designed and built for Olympic competition.

Fulton County

12. Knox Mansion, Johnstown – built in 1898 for the prominent manufacturer Charles P. Knox (Knox Gelatin Company).

Herkimer County

13. South Ann Street – Mill Street Historic District, Little Falls – constructed between 1827 and 1911, the district represents industrial and commercial development that occurred in Little Falls adjacent to the Mohawk River and Erie Canal.

14. General Walter Martin House, Martinsburg – constructed in 1805 as the residence of financier, substantial landowner and civic leader General Walter Martin.

Monroe County

15. East Main Street Armory, Rochester – built in 1904-07 to house a local unit of the New York State National Guard.

New York County

16. Fraunces Tavern – constructed in 1719 and converted to a tavern in 1763 it was here that General George Washington gave his famous farewell speech to his officers on December 4, 1783. The building is a pioneering example of an early preservation movement and restoration project that used the most sophisticated techniques available at the time.

Onondaga County

17. Hotel Syracuse, Syracuse – the hotel was designed by George B. Post & Sons, one of the leading hotel designers of the day; ground was broken for the hotel in 1922 and it opened on August 16, 1924.

Ontario County

18. Smith Observatory and Dr. William R. Brooks House, Geneva – built in 1888 and equipped with a 9.5″ refracting telescope crafted by the Warner & Swasey Company of Ohio, it is a rare surviving example of a private, mid-size professional observatory.

19. Farmers’ and Merchants’ Bank, Geneva – built ca. 1914-1915, example of early 20th century commercial architecture in Geneva.

Orange County

20. Rushmore Memorial Library, Highland Mills (Town of Woodbury) – constructed in 1923-24 as the first public library in the town of Woodbury and financed by New York City attorney Charles E. Rushmore, recognized for his work in the Black Hill of South Dakota, Mount Rushmore was named after him in 1930.

21. Woodlawn Farm, Slate Hill – the earliest section of the house dates to c. 1790-1810 and was subsequently expanded and updated during the course of the 19th century.

Schenectady County

22. Enlarged Double Lock No. 23, Old Erie Canal, Rotterdam – constructed in 1841-1842, associated with the transportation history of the Old Erie Canal.

Steuben County

23. Hammondsport Union Free School, Hammondsport – the earliest section of the building was built as a private secondary school in 1858, converted to a public union school in 1875 and was expanded by three additions over the next 38 years.

Suffolk County

24. Jamesport Meeting House, Jamesport – the history of the meeting house dates to 1731, the building dates from 1859 when the original meeting house was rebuilt and served one of the first religious groups established in the town of Riverhead.

25. Brewster House, East Setauket – with a portion dating from c. 1665 and acquired that year by the Reverend Nathaniel Brewster, the first ordained minister in Setauket, the house is the oldest extant house in the town of Brookhaven.

Ulster County

26. Cornell Steamboat Company Machine Shop Building, Kingston – the machine shop was built about 1901 by the Cornell Steamboat Company to accommodate maritime industrial transportation between the Erie Canal and New York City along the Hudson River.

Washington County

27. Town – Hollister Farm, North Granville – first developed by noted educator, author and Freemason Salem Town (1779-1864) and sold to Captain Isaac Hollister in 1833.

Westchester County

28. Hadden – Margolis House, Harrison – the house preserves architectural characteristics that spans three centuries (c. 1750-1930) associated with growth and patterns of settlement in Westchester County.

Wyoming County

29. First Universalist Church of Portageville, Portageville – built in late 1841, the church served as a meeting house.

NY State Historic Preservation Awards Announced


By on

0 Comments

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash has announced the recipients of the 2007 State Historic Preservation Awards. The Historic Preservation Awards honor the efforts and achievements of individuals, organizations and municipalities that make significant contributions to the effort of historic preservation throughout New York State.

The State Historic Preservation Awards were established in 1980 to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic and cultural resources. The recipients were honored at a ceremony at Peebles Island, home of the State Historic Preservation Office, Bureau of Historic Sites.

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt
Public Sector Achievement Award

Assemblyman Sam Hoyt, who represents the 144th Assembly District (including Buffalo’s west side and Grand Island on the Niagara River), is honored for his outstanding contribution to advancing historic preservation and community improvement activities across the state.

Eldridge Street Synagogue
Project Achievement Award, Bonnie Dimun, Executive Director, Roberta Gratz, Founder and President Emeritus

The Eldridge Street Project is recognized for its outstanding contribution to restoring and revitalizing the Eldridge Street Synagogue, one of New York’s most prominent historic religious properties.

Universal Preservation Hall
Project Achievement Award, Mattthew Kopans, Director

The Universal Preservation Hall project in downtown Saratoga Springs is recognized for transforming a distinguished yet deteriorated historic church into a vibrant center for art, culture and community events.

Town of Roxbury
Community Achievement Award, Town Supervisor Tom Hynes, Town Historian Peg Ellsworth

The Town of Roxbury, located on the East Branch of the Delaware River, is being honored for its variety of creative approaches to integrating historic preservation into the everyday life of the community, especially in the hamlet of Roxbury.

Adirondack Architectural Heritage
Non-profit Achievement Award

This regional non-profit organization is honored for expanding and enhancing the public’s understanding, appreciation, and stewardship of the area’s historic and cultural treasures.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which is part of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, helps communities identify, recognize, and preserve their historic resources, and incorporate them into local improvement and economic development activities. The SHPO administers several programs including the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit, state historic preservation grants, the Certified Local Government program, and the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, which are the official lists of properties significant in the history, architecture, and archeology of the state and nation. There are more than 4,400 State and National Register listings in New York, including nearly 90,000 historic buildings, structures and sites.

NYS Recommends 25 to National Register of Historic Places


By on

0 Comments

The New York State Board for Historic Preservation today recommended the addition of 25 properties and districts to the State and National Registers of Historic Places. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.

“These nominations reflect the incredible diversity of architectural vision, craftsmanship, innovation and history that are present in buildings and landscapes across New York State,” said Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash. “Listing these landmarks will give them the recognition and support they deserve.”


Ash highlighted a number of unique nominations recommended for listing, including:

Congregation Beth Abraham/Mt. Zion Church of God 7th Day – a representative example of New York City’s early 20th century synagogue design, which was built in 1928 by first- and second-generation Eastern European Jewish Immigrants in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn.

Bullard Block – the ornate High Victorian five-section commercial block has been the anchor of Schuylerville’s Broad Street since its construction in 1881 and retains a high degree of its original fabric.

Pine Grove Community Church – an 1895 Victorian Gothic non-denominational church in rural Watson, Lewis County that retains a remarkable degree of its original form.

Chenango Canal Prism and Lock 107 – a surviving portion of the canal that opened in 1836 near Chenango Valley State Park – built very close to the specifications of the original Erie Canal – which provides a rare illustration of the first generation of New York State canals.

Midway Park – established as a trolley park in 1894 and transitioning into a “kiddieland” amusement park, what is now Midway State Park in Chautauqua County retains its original picnic grove and lakeside swimming facilities, along with 18 amusement park rides from the mid-20th century.

Listing these properties on the state and national registers can assist their owners in revitalizing the structures. Listing will make them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.

The New York State Board for Historic Preservation is an independent panel of experts appointed by the governor. The Board also consists of representatives from the following state organizations: Council of Parks; Council on the Arts; Department of Education; Department of State and Department of Environmental Conservation. The function of the Board is to advise and provide recommendations on state and federal preservation programs, including the State and National Registers of Historic Places, to the State Historic Preservation Officer, who in New York is the State Parks Commissioner.

The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York State and the nation. There are nearly 90,000 historic buildings, structures and sites throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts.

During the nomination process, the State Board submits recommendations to the State Historic Preservation Officer. The properties may be listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register by the Keeper of the National Register in Washington, D.C. The State Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service, which is part of the U.S. Department of Interior, jointly administer the national register program.

For more information about the New York State Board for Historic Preservation and the State and National Register programs, contact the Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau at (518) 237-8643, or visit the state parks web site at www.nysparks.com.

STATE REVIEW BOARD RECOMMENDATIONS

Broome County

1. Chenango Canal Prism & Lock, near Chenango Forks

2. Rivercrest Historic District, Vestal (Approved for state registry only)

Cattaraugus County

3. 520 Hostageh Road, Rock City

Chautauqua County

4. Midway Park, Maple Springs

Clinton County

5. Alice T. Miner Museum, Chazy

6. Werrenrath Camp, Dannemora

Columbia County

7. Rockefeller, Simeon House, Germantown

Erie County

8. J.N. Adam/AM&A’s Historic District, Buffalo

Herkimer County

9. Holy Trinity Monastery, Jordanville

Kings County

10. Congregation Beth Abraham, Brooklyn

11. Parkway Theater, Brooklyn

12. H. Lawrence & Sons Rope Works, Brooklyn

Lewis County

13. Pine Grove Community Church, Watson

New York County

14. Shearwater schooner, Manhattan

15. 240 Central Park South, Manhattan

Onondaga County

16. Louis and Celia Skolar Residence, Syracuse

Oswego County

17. Brosemer Brewery, Oswego

Saratoga County

18. Victory Mills, Victory

19. Bullard Block, Schuylerville

Suffolk County

20. Hopkins, Samuel House, Miller Place

21. Shelter Island Country Club, Shelter Island

22. Friendly Hall/Tuthill-Lapham House, Wading River

Tompkins County

23. Rogues Harbor Inn, Lansing

Ulster County

24. New Paltz Downtown Historic District, New Paltz

Wyoming County

25. Fleming, Bryant House, Wyoming

2008 NY State Historic Preservation Awards Announced


By on

0 Comments

New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash today announced the recipients of the 2008 New York State Historic Preservation Awards. The State Historic Preservation Awards were established in 1980 to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic and cultural resources. The recipients were honored at a ceremony held at the Historic Preservation Field Services Bureau at Peebles Island State Park, north of Albany:


Individual Achievement presented to Dorothy Marie Miner, Esq.
Preservation Law pioneer, advocate, educator and mentor, Miner was a powerful force for civic good, a fearless voice for the rule of law and the built environment. Ms. Miner was instrumental in the development, implementation and defense of preservation laws at local and statewide levels, and her pioneering work was significant in establishing preservation law at the national level. She was informed of her award before her death on October 21, 2008.

Individual Achievement presented to Harold L. Zoch
For his extraordinary efforts and commitment to the documentation and preservation of the historic and cultural resources of Schoharie County and New York State.

Project Achievement presented to the Willow Street Lofts, LLC, Syracuse
For outstanding commitment to community revitalization and the adaptive use project of the former CW Snow Warehouse.

Project Achievement presented to the Oswego Public Library
For outstanding commitment to community revitalization and the rehabilitation and rejuvenation of a distinguished historic property.

Project Achievement presented to Judith Wellman, PhD.
The Equal Rights Historic District, Sherwood, Cayuga County for outstanding scholarship in National Register documentation, and dedication to the ideals of those Americans who have advanced the cause of equal rights and reform.

Project Achievement presented to the Rural Ulster Preservation Company
For outstanding commitment to community revitalization and the rehabilitation and adaptive use of the Kirkland Hotel, Kingston.

Project Achievement presented to Jedediah Hawkins Inn, Jamesport
For outstanding commitment to community revitalization and the rehabilitation and adaptive use of a distinguished historic property.

Project Achievement presented to Historic Saranac Lake
For outstanding commitment to community revitalization and the rehabilitation and adaptive use of the Saranac Laboratory.

Community Achievement presented to Village of New Paltz and Historic Huguenot Street
For outstanding commitment to the documentation and preservation of historic and prehistoric archeological resources as an integral part of community improvement projects.

Not-for-Profit Achievement presented to the Hudson Mohawk Industrial Gateway
For outstanding leadership and commitment to community revitalization efforts and the promotion of and advocacy for the region’s industrial history and architecture.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which is part of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, helps communities identify, recognize, and preserve their historic resources, and incorporate them into local improvement and economic development activities. The SHPO administers several programs including the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit, state historic preservation grants, the Certified Local Government program, and the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, which are the official lists of properties significant in the history, architecture, and archeology of the state and nation.

NYS Parks & Historic Sites Capital Plan Update


By on

0 Comments

Here is the complete text of testimony given November 19th by NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash at the New York State Assembly Public Hearing for the $132 million capital improvement spending plan for our parks and historic sites. A pdf of the Capital Plan presentation is located here. This page includes the initial announcement of the plan along with a Report to the Legislature and the Capital Projects List.


Thank you for inviting me here today to discuss our real success story of the past year — our capital initiative — “The Revitalization of New York State’s Parks and Historic Sites”.

I truly appreciate this opportunity to fully discuss our capital program, its economic significance, and the importance of our state parks in communities throughout the state.

The New York State Park system is made up of 178 parks and 35 historic sites encompassing 325,000 acres of lands and waters. The system is widely recognized as one of the best in the nation. Our parks and historic sites host more than 55 million visitors annually.

Our huge inventory of public recreational facilities includes 5,000 buildings, 29 golf courses, 53 swimming pools, 76 beaches, 27 marinas, 40 boat launching sites, 18 nature centers, 817 cabins, 8,355 campsites, more than 1,350 miles of trails, 106 dams, 640 bridges, hundreds of miles of roads, and dozens of historic structures listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

Niagara Falls State Park, established in 1885, is the oldest state park in the nation, and Washington’s Headquarters, established in 1850, is the first publicly-owned state historic site. The Bethpage Black was the first publicly-owned golf course to host the U.S. Open Golf Championship in 2002. The 109th United States Open Championship will return to this world-class facility in June of next year.

In traveling to more than 150 of our state parks and historic sites across the state, I have seen first-hand some of the significant challenges facing our parks. In many parts of the state, I was able to share these experiences with members of the Assembly and to those legislators who were able to join me on these park visits, I offer a special thank you.

As a result of a thorough assessment of our system, we identified a backlog of critical capital project needs approaching $650 million.

How did a $650 million capital backlog come to be? Over the fifteen year period from 1992 through 2007, the state park system grew. Twenty-six new parks and 70,000 acres were acquired, representing a 25 percent increase in the system. But over this same period, the state parks’ capital budget was cut by 50 percent, adjusting for inflation. Cutting the capital budget by 50 percent, while expanding the system by 26 new parks, led to a predictable outcome – we are now faced with the challenge of addressing a large backlog of health and safety and park rehabilitation needs.

Fortunately, this year Governor Paterson and the Legislature, with the support of Speaker Silver and Chairmen Englebright and Sweeney, responded to this challenge. The current year FY2008-09 state budget created a new State Parks Capital Initiative. This initiative, coupled with other funds OPRHP secured from federal, state, and private sources, enabled the agency to launch a program to revitalize the state park system totaling more than $100 million.

OPRHP’s $100 million capital investment is delivering tangible, on-the-ground benefits to the residents of New York State. Last week, I submitted a six-month update report to the Legislature on the status of State Park’s Capital Program. The agency has initiated more than 150 capital construction projects to remedy the health and safety issues and rehabilitate deteriorated facilities in State Parks and Historic Sites across the state—addressing health and safety concerns, and providing safe and affordable recreational and educational experiences for millions of New Yorkers.

Of the total $95 million State Parks Capital Initiative appropriation, $75.5 million was allocated to OPRHP. As charged by the Governor and the Legislature, we aggressively set out to efficiently spend these dollars. As of today –seven months later – OPRHP has spent or encumbered 96 percent of the $75.5 million.

Let me repeat, in just seven months through the fiscal year, we have spent or have under contract $72.5 million of the $75.5 million provided to the agency this year – and we have initiated bidding and contract awards for the remaining $3 million.

The agency is on track to encumber the entire $75.5 million by March 31, 2009, and the visiting public will see some noticeable improvements to our state parks during next year’s summer operating season. And, we are ready to begin construction on the next installment of new projects for the next fiscal year, spurring even more economic activity in communities throughout the state.

These capital investments will not only improve the parks and protect the state’s investments in irreplaceable public assets, but they also support the equivalent of 1,000 full-time private sector construction and engineering jobs which bolster the state’s economy in these very difficult times. Due to the nature of construction jobs, this equivalent reflects thousands of actual, on-site workers for various periods of time. The nature and scope of agency’s capital work also makes the projects ideal for small to medium-sized construction firms, businesses that will be most impacted by the economic downturn.

Here are some examples of revitalization projects made possible by this year’s State Parks Capital Initiative.

Four Mile Creek State Park Comfort Station Renovations.
At Four Mile Creek in Niagara County, we are providing park patrons with a new, updated comfort station. The new building features several “green” components including water saving fixtures and skylights, and is fully accessible.


Letchworth State Park.
Roads throughout Letchworth were repaired and repaved, and several public parking areas were resurfaced – addressing critical but long-deferred park infrastructure needs. Other projects initiated at the park this year include waterline improvements and construction of a new washhouse to serve campers. Camping at the park was booked to capacity for most of the summer. About an hour’s drive south of Rochester, Letchworth is a popular and significant tourist attraction in the Genesee region of the state, hosting about 750,000 visitors each year.
Saratoga Spa State Park.
The large Peerless Pool complex, including the fully accessible main pool, slide pool, and toddler pool, were rehabilitated. A new pool liner was installed to improve durability and eliminate water leakage. In addition, a number of the park’s roads, parking areas, bike paths, and walking trails were resurfaced. The spa park attracts 1.7 million visitors annually.
Allegany State Park Cabin Loop Restoration.
Last year, we showed you pictures of severely deteriorating cabins at this park. This past summer, we initiated phase one of the cabin loop restoration project that will rehabilitate deteriorated public rental cabins throughout the park, which has 424 campsites and 375 cabins spread throughout its 65,000 acres. Allegany is a top destination for campers, hikers, and nature lovers.
FDR State Park Bathhouse.
This bathhouse provided another of last year’s memorable “uglies”. Capital projects completed using this year’s funding include the rehabilitation of bathhouse and pool fencing. FDR State Park, located in Westchester County, draws 570,000 visitors annually. (Here we are viewing some of the ongoing work with members of the local Assembly delegation)
Green Lakes State Park Bathhouse Reconstruction.
Following a news conference attended by local Assembly members and Senators this summer, State Parks broke ground on a new $2.3 million bathhouse at the swimming beach in this popular park, located near Syracuse. The new bathhouse will incorporate green technologies, as well as current building code and accessibility standards, and will be open to the public for next summer. The park hosts 850,000 visitors annually.
Riverbank Traffic Circle.
This past summer, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of Riverbank state park community supporters and local state representatives. As part of our capital initiative, we are replacing the traffic circle roadway which provides the park’s main entrance for vehicles, including public buses. In addition to the traffic circle, the agency is in the process of letting contracts to rehabilitate failing roofs and HVAC systems, and has initiated other upgrades including rehabilitation of irrigation lines and the replacement of more than 100 trees donated by the

Million Tree Project.
Brentwood State Park-Park Development.
Construction has begun at Brentwood State Park in Suffolk County, a major athletic complex that will provide greatly needed playing fields in this underserved area. This first phase of construction, which includes sixteen soccer fields and four baseball fields, is slated to open in the summer of 2009. The park will serve thousands of children in a community that has been very much in need of recreational facilities.
These are just a few highlights. All told, this year’s capital initiative funding enabled the agency to undertake capital improvements in more than 80 state parks and historic sites across New York State.

By any measure, the State Parks Revitalization Initiative is off to a solid start. However, contrasted against a capital backlog of $650 million, much more work remains to be done. As I outlined last year, the bulk of OPRHP’s capital needs fall into two categories:

Health and Safety Projects.
The state parks continue to face a number of health and safety issues. We have outdated drinking water systems that need to be replaced. We have aging sewage treatment systems that have exceeded their useful life; dams on the state’s “high hazard” list that do not meet modern dam safety standards, and bridges that have been flagged as potential hazards. We have failing electrical systems and landfills that, although inactive for many years, were never closed to DEC standards.

Rehabilitation of Existing Facilities.
This category is by far the largest, comprising approximately two-thirds of OPHRP’s total identified capital needs. It encompasses capital rehabilitation of existing infrastructure in the parks and historic sites – replacing facilities that have long exceeded their practical and operational effectiveness and are in various stages of disrepair, including roofs, heating and plumbing systems, visitor centers, bathrooms, campgrounds, shower buildings, picnic shelters, recreation fields, pools, swimming pools, bathhouses, nature centers, roads, parking areas, hiking trails, and maintenance centers.
Looking forward to next year, the agency hopes to continue momentum on revitalizing New York’s state parks and historic sites.

We understand that decisions about next year’s investment in our state parks need to be made in the context of the unprecedented fiscal picture facing New York State. Like all state agencies, we are reducing operating expenses and focusing on the agency’s core mission and priorities. Nonetheless, I believe that, even in this time of fiscal difficulty, continued funding for New York’s State Parks’ capital program is a smart financial investment. The State Parks Capital Program has and can continue to deliver:

Safe and Affordable Parks
Visitation at parks was very strong this summer and, given the challenging financial outlook facing millions of New Yorkers, we expect continued heavy public demand next year for our campgrounds, cabins, picnic and swimming areas, lakes and ocean beaches, and other recreational facilities.

Private Sector Jobs
Through this year’s capital program, OPRHP has entered into 150 contracts and more than 400 subcontracts with private, local construction and engineering firms. Given the nature of our projects, we are contracting with small and medium-size local contractors. And, I am pleased to report that over the past two years more than 13 percent of the agency’s capital construction spending has gone to minority- and women-owned businesses.
Tourism
Revitalized State Parks and Historic Sites directly support recreational tourism, which is one of New York’s largest industries. To grow our tourism industry, we need to make sure that these visitors have high-quality experiences, so that they will return in the future and tell others to do the same.
Economically Vibrant CommunitiesParks, open space, and recreational amenities are important community assets that directly contribute to the economic vitality of cities, towns, and rural areas – enticing businesses to locate and stay in New York.
Healthy Families
Parks provide a place for New Yorkers of all ages to and exercise and play. By investing is safe and attractive facilities, the initiative is part of a comprehensive state strategy to promote public health and wellness, particularly among children and underserved communities.
This year, OPRHP has proven our ability to quickly and efficiently put the State Parks Capital Initiative Funds to work – creating jobs and investing in tangible, lasting improvements to our public facilities. I hope that we are able to continue our momentum on this initiative, within the confines of what is affordable in the overall state budget.

In closing, I would like to thank you for your support of New York’s State Park System. As I have traveled the state over the past two years – from Long Island’s magnificent ocean beach parks, to our urban parks in New York City, to our hundreds of facilities across upstate New York – I have received universal support for the parks from our state’s elected officials. Supporting our parks is a sound investment in the future of our state, and the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is committed to continuing to make wise use of this investment in the future.

Thank you. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have.