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September 24, 2018

Letter: Help Defend Against The New Attack On Fort Ontario


The painting, "Attack on Fort Oswego"

The painting, "Attack on Fort Oswego"

“TO THE PEOPLE OF OSWEGO AND THE STATE OF NEW YORK”

One hundred and ninety-six years ago, American soldiers stood on top of the very ramparts that exist at Fort Ontario today, and gazed out in terrifying wonderment at what was coming their way. The armed forces of Great Britain had amassed the largest naval armada in the history of Lake Ontario, and set course to invade and capture Oswego. The men of the 3rd U.S. Artillery, augmented by some local militia, numbering few more than 350 souls, stood and watched the British fleet approach. Outgunned, outnumbered, and inspired by the spirits of men who sacrificed their lives in earlier wars in Oswego, the Americans resolved to stay and fight and add their blood to Fort Ontario’s already hallowed ground.

The painting, "Attack on Fort Oswego"

The painting, "Attack on Fort Oswego"

Now, the Fort is again under siege – not by an armada assembled by a foreign enemy, but one of our own making. Budget cuts in Albany, spurred by an era of fiscal irresponsibility, have led us to the real possibility of losing a site that holds such a rich history, and many stunning tales of bravery.

On top of the Fort’s awe-inspiring history, the facility has served as a subtle, yet potent economic engine for Oswego County. Recent independent studies have concluded that for every 1 dollar a state invests in its park system; the result is a return of 5 dollars of activity. For Oswego, that means roughly 600,000 dollars of activity that will be lost in the event the site closes. Small businesses, already reeling for an unstable economy, will be forced to absorb more loss. Everyday citizens will be robbed of the inexpensive and educational form of entertainment that the fort provides. Buildings and grounds that require basic maintenance will fall into disrepair, making their ability to be returned to current restored state, almost impossible. And what of the artifacts donated to the fort over the years, and the unguarded stonewalls awaiting the graffiti or vandals?

We will endure all this consequence for 117,000 dollars in savings, and a statewide effect of less than 1% of the projected deficit. We collectively ask; is it worth it? The answer, certainly, is no. Proponents of the plan claim it costs too much money to operate the facility; however, even if ignoring all the economic benefits the site provides to the area, we must ask: when has America ever placed a price on duty? The Friends of Fort Ontario have joined with many other voices from all over the state in asking that our legislators find the importance and reason in our argument, and reject Governor Paterson’s ill-conceived funding cuts to our heritage. These voices have not been ignored. Citizens like Morgan Domicolo, who created a Facebook page titled “Don’t Close Fort Ontario,” have amassed 6,400 members. Legislators have had their mailboxes filled and phone lines ringing constantly, with angry constituents demanding the plan be overturned. We are making progress. But there is still much to be done.

Fort Ontario is more than a park – it’s a monument to everything that America stands for. It stands as a symbol of freedom, bravery, and a permanent memorial to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in our nation’s defense. The Friends of Fort Ontario have labored for decades ensuring that the sacrifices made by those who’ve gone before us remain in the forefront of our minds. We ask that you join us Sunday, March 14th, at 12 noon on the Fort Grounds and fight to save this site for our present and future generations.

Sincerely,

Charles Harrington
President, Friends of Fort Ontario

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3 Responses “Letter: Help Defend Against The New Attack On Fort Ontario”

  1. barb b
    March 12, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Great article… very informative … thank you… charles, bb

  2. March 13, 2010 at 5:45 am

    what are there in albany, something like 50-100 lawyers sitting around thinking up taxes to screw us with. enough is enough. we need less taxes not more. we don’t need all of this political crap either. teachers that don’t do their jobs and are still kept on because they have tenure, if they don’t do what they are hired for, fire them. since when is a union more powerful than the citizens. only because we let school boards that we elect do what we want, or should i say not do. the same as police and fire commissions, give me a break. retired people don’t get a cost of living pay raise for the next 2 years because our president told us that the cost of living didn’t go up. are you kidding me??? how come all of these other entities are getting raises. something is definitly wrong here.

  3. Roxanne McKinstry
    March 15, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    It would be a shame to close the fort. It has a wonderful history.I enjoy going there every time I am home. Can Oswego really afford to lose the the money that it brings in? NO! The people in Albany shoud be ashamed of themselves! You cant destroy a place with such a rich history.

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