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How much will it cost to save state and historic parks?

By By PAT BAILEY

NEW YORK STATE (WKTV) - How much money will it take for area state and historic parks to stay open?

That is a question some big businesses may be asking. According to state officials, a private investing partner is the best option to keep parks and historic sites from closing.

A proposal by the State Office of Parks and Recreation suggest the closure of 41 state parks and 14 state historic sites due to the state's fiscal woes. Two of those historic sites are located right in the Mohawk Valley - The Oriskany Battlefield and the Herkimer Home.

Dan Keefe, a spokesman for the State Office of Parks and Recreation, said that the agency has a track record of working with private investors to keep state parks open or afloat, and that the agency is open to talking with anyone to accomplish that.

Just this week, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy - who according to the Associated Press is considering a run for Governor - said the state should seek bids from the private sector to take over the cost of running the parks until the state fixes its fiscal problems.

Local Impact:

According to Keefe, if the Oriskany Battlefield were to close, it would save the state $10,000 a year. Meanwhile, the closing of the Herkimer Home would save the $150,000 a year.

Keefe said these two historic sites, much like the other state parks, rely on 60% funding from the state's general fund.

Potential Investors?

The Oneida Indian Nation takes part in the re-enactment of the Battle of Oriskany every year. When asked if the Nation was interested in coming up with the $10,000 to save the Oriskany Battlefield, the Nation's spokesman did not sound committed to the idea.

"All governments have a responsibility to do their part to preserve history for future generations to learn from it, and the Oneida Nation has been a leader in doing so," said Nation Spokesman Mark Emery. "While we understand the State's financial position, we hope the State is able to find some way to continue to do its part."

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