Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,IÃ¢â‚¬â€Pulaski), who launched an online survey last week asking people to weigh in on the recent proposal that Fort Ontario be closed due to state budget difficulties, said people resoundingly said Ã¢â‚¬Å“Save the Fort.Ã¢â‚¬Â So far, more than 1,000 people have responded to the online questionnaire, of which 98 percent said they disagree with the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation recommendation to close the Fort.
People cited various reasons through the questionnaire form explaining why they thought this was a bad idea. Many said history, recreation, education and tourism of the overall area would be greatly affected by its closure. Many said this would adversely affect the economy as well. More than 470 people wrote in the comment section of the survey, explaining why they believe the Fort should remain open. A rally to save Fort Ontario will be held on March 14 at Noon.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“The people have spoken: Closing Fort Ontario is a bad idea. Fort Ontario is an economic and tourism engine. The harbor and the Fort are attributes Oswego residents can build upon. Not only have many local residents expressed their disdain for the proposal but many out-of-towners, some from as far away as Texas, explained when they come to Oswego, they visit the Fort and teach their children of its importance. This further proves that tourism dollars are realized through the Fort,Ã¢â‚¬Â said Barclay.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Those who didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mention the important role our Fort played in early Colonial wars mentioned its role in hosting World War II Jewish refugees. Safe Haven documents OswegoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kindness to those who were prosecuted during the war,Ã¢â‚¬Â added Barclay.
The survey can be found at http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e2r44g7tg62877nh/start,
Recently, the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation recommended closing 57 state parks and historic sites. With enough of a local, grassroots effort that demonstrates the Fort is an integral part of the community, Assemblyman Barclay said he is hopeful the Fort will be added to the list the Office of Parks and Recreation and Historic Preservation has proposed be saved with $5 million from the Environmental Protection Fund.
Assemblyman Barclay said he is grateful to the many local media outlets that helped promote the online survey, and to many others who e-mailed the survey link along to friends and family. That feedback will be collected and submitted to the GovernorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office.