Senator Serrano Passes Bill to Rehabilitate State Park Buildings
(Albany, NY) - The New York State Senate passed a bill (S918/A5800), sponsored by Senator José M. Serrano, that will establish a Resident Curator Program for the rehabilitation of residential buildings situated within State Park boundaries. The bill authorizes the Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation (OPRHP) to enter into leases through the state's normal competitive bidding process, with private individuals or not-for-profit organizations who will repair vacant residential buildings at their own expense using private funds.
"Our beautiful and extensive state parks system is a major facet of the New York experience, attracting millions of tourists to our state every year," said Senator Serrano. "As the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks & Recreation, I firmly believe that we must find creative ways to ensure that our parks and the structures within them are sustainable for generations to come."
With State Parks having a backlog of close to $1 billion in needed capital repairs, the Resident Curator Program will serve as a low-cost way to enhance dilapidated buildings for the benefit of Park visitors. Similar programs have proven effective in other States, such as Maryland, which has successfully administered more than fifty curatorship, representing an estimated $8 million in private investments by curators.
"Allowing private investment in the rehabilitation of our historic sites allows OPRHP to focus its limited capital funds on more pressing needs, while simultaneously providing the people of New York with the enhanced beautification of some of our State's most precious parks," concluded Serrano.
With the bill having passed the New York State Senate, it is now referred to the New York State Assembly for a vote, where it is sponsored by Assemblymember Steve Englebright.