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Historic sites slated to stay closed

May 4, 2010
By MICHAEL ANICH, The Leader-Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation still plans to close many of the state's historic sites, including the Johnson Hall State Historic Site and Schoharie Crossing, despite a May 15 season opening date looming.

"Both of these facilities are basically shut down from the winter and we're not taking steps to reopen them," Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Deputy Public Information Officer Dan Keefe said Monday.

Meanwhile, state Assemblyman Marc W. Butler, R-Newport, said Monday he is working with other legislators to keep the sites open this year, but they may open later than normal after the state's 2010-11 budget is adopted.

"We've just got to get it done," Butler said.

State Sen. Hugh T. Farley, R-Niskayuna, who said last month he was "very confident" historic sites will remain open, said Monday he's working hard to make that happen.

"There's tremendous support for that in the budget," Farley said.

Gov. David Paterson and state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash on Feb. 19 announced a list of 14 state historic sites and 41 parks recommended for closure. The plan also calls for service reductions at 23 parks and one historic site.

The list of area closures included Johnson Hall, expected to save the state $46,500, and Schoharie Crossing, expected to save $110,000. Overall, proposed closings would save the state $6 million.

Last week, Fulton County Historian Peter Betz told the Board of Supervisors' Economic Development Committee he learned retired Johnson Hall Manager Wanda Burch was staying on another month at the site. He said it was encouraging that her work has been extended. He said she was being assisted by a part-time employee from Schuyler Mansion in Albany.

Keefe on Monday verified that Burch "postponed her retirement" temporarily.

"There is somebody from Schuyler Mansion temporarily working with Wanda, but they are working on a closure plan," he said.

Keefe also said the Visitor Center and its Canal Store, and Yankee Hill picnic area at Schoharie Crossing in Montgomery County will be closed and locked.

The boat launch will remain closed from the winter and docks will not be placed in the water, he said.

 
 

 

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