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Plan To Close Fort Sparks Outrage

The proposal to close some state parks and historic sites, including Oswego’s Fort Ontario, seems to have touched a nerve.  People who are generally disgusted with the state of affairs in New York State have been moved to write and to urge action to try to keep the parks open.

Gov. David Paterson said that the parks proposal is one of dozens of ways he’s looking at to cut more than $8 billion in spending from the next state budget.  The state has been hit doubly hard by the economic downturn.  Not only has it put people out of work, but the collapse of stock prices on Wall Street deprived the state of large portions of its largest single source of revenue.

Within a day of the proposal, several pages were set up on Facebook to protest the planned closings.  Among them is a page called “Save Fort Ontario”, which says it is a joint effort of the Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Oswego’s County’s Promotions and Tourism Department and the Friends of Fort Ontario.  “Rally the Battle Cry,” says its most recent status message. “Fort Ontario has protected us, and it is now time for us to protect the Fort!”

Another Facebook page, called Don’t Close Fort Ontario, was created by student Morgan Domicolo, who writes, “RAISE YOUR VOICE. Hockey games, kite flying, bloodshed for our country. Tell them how we feel. This is our history.”  The page is filled with comments from people outraged over the possible closing.

Letters to the editor and comments on website stories are coming thick and fast.

From a letter to the editor from Rose VanAlstyne:

“Once again, the state finds a way to take away those things that the average working familiy can afford and enjoy!!!
I can guarantee that they will continue to enjoy those extravagant vacations to the islands in their private jets.”

From an anonymous letter:

“This whole state keeps suffering, loss of jobs, bussineses, surcharges, taxes and so on. When do we the people get a break? I think it is ridiculous to close our state parks. A lot of people stay closer to home and enjoy camping and swimming. Now you want to take that away, and the fort has been part of learning and enjoyment for all ages. You have closed many bussiness loss of jobs do think closing our parks is going to help? No, its just another ploy to hurt our state, when you need or want more money you will close something else….You need to take a step back for you are sucking the life out of all of us. You need to step down and let someone else do the ruling.”

From a letter from the Rev. George Reed, a local history buff:

“We are not called to shed our blood, but we must let our leaders in Albany know that we will defend our homes and our economic security. Tourism is our largest industry. The North Country can not lose another industry. There are other parts of the state budget that can be cut without damaging an already depressed region. New York State Parks and Historic Preservation needs to look at its use of personnel.”

Comments on stories have been running hot as well.  Commenter “Francis” said, “These bums are so unimaginative. If any of us were to run our households like they run this state we’d be living in cardboard boxes.”  “Dorothy” wrote, “If the state wasn’t into spending every dime taken in for other things other than what it was intended for maybe there wouldn’t be a shortage– the lotto for schools?? the thruway charge for other things?? We can go down a long list of what money goes where but is eaten up by things that it isn’t intended for.”  And commenter Linda added, “OUR NEW SLOGAN IS GOING TO BE: “WHEN YOU WANT TO RELAX AND DO NOTHING, COME TO NEW YORK. BECAUSE HERE WE HAV[E] NOTHING TO DO.”

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1 Comment

  1. Hope this doesn’t turn out like A.L.Lee Memorial Hospital. The state wanted it closed and with all the fighting it still closed. Best of luck on this one, hope it works out and stays open.

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