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Thacher Park on the chopping block

The prospect of the park closing has already drawn a tremendous public outcry.

John Kilroy, president of the group "Friends of Thacher Park," said "If you think about it, this place has a big history, not only with Albany County, but also with the families of Albany County. This really is the crown jewel of the Capital Region," he said.

He also said that Thacher provides a needed respite for many people struggling with hard times.

"Think about how many people are out of work and can't afford a vacation. They can go up to Thacher Park, relax, and have a good time," said Kilroy.

Online networking Web sites have helped the movement against the closing of the park pick up steam. The Facebook group "Save John Boyd Thacher Park" has attracted more than 5,000 fans in less then a week.

"People need parks," said the founder of that group, Anni Murray of Albany. "We are animals. We need more than concrete, cars and advertising. How can you expect anyone to want to care for the environment when they never get to see it? People are extremely attached to this park and have jumped at the chance to be part of the campaign to save it."

Another Facebook group, "2,000 to Save Thacher Park" has already registered more than 23,000 fans in less than a week.

The fate of the state-run parks will depend largely on the enacted budget for the 2010-2011, which is now in the hands of the legislature, and is scheduled to be voted on by Wednesday, March 31.

"We have voiced our concerns to the governor, and the Parks Department, closing Thacher Park would have a tremendous affect on the people of the Capital Region," said Sen.Neil Breslin D-Delmar.

He said the park serves people from all walks of life, and is a popular location for school trips.

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