A rally in support of keeping Fort Ontario open has been scheduled, as public pressure continues to build on behalf of the endangered historic site.
The Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce has scheduled a rally for noon on March 14 at the Fort.
The state issued preliminary plans to close or restrict services at 55 parks and historic sites across the state. Fort Ontario would close under the plan and Selkirk Shores state park in Port Ontario would have sharply reduced hours for swimming.
The state has also begun to send back deposits on campsites at some state parks, believing that the parks will not be open for camping.
The parks cutbacks are part of Gov. Paterson’s orders to state agencies to cut billions of dollars in spending. Estimates show the state running an $8 to $10 billion deficit, even after billions of dollars was cut from the state budget during the past year.
The state has been doubly-hit by the economic downturn, because of the loss of taxes from Wall Street.
Meantime, other public pressure efforts continue.
State Assemblyman Will Barclay (R-Pulaski) has created an online survey at http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07e2r44g7tg62877nh/start to gather public views which will be forwarded to the Governor’s office.
In a statement announcing the survey, he called the potential closing of the Fort “a terrible idea.”
“I would encourage residents to complete the survey so my office can share the results with our state leaders and the GovernorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s office. With enough of a local, grassroots effort that demonstrates the Fort is an integral part of the community, I am 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,” said Barclay.
There are also at least two Facebook sites set up to rally support for the Fort.
Save Fort Ontario is run by the Chamber of Commerce and the county tourism office and has more than 4,300 subscribers to the page.
And Don’t Close Fort Ontario is a page set up by student Morgan Domicolo. Her page has more than 5,700 subscribers, who have posted nearly 90 photos from the Fort.
In addition, this publication continues to offer a form that can be used to e-mail comments to one or all of Oswego County’s state legislators. So far, 29 people have used the form to send a comment.