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Movement to keep Thacher open picks up steam

The wave of outcry over the potential closing of Thacher Park has continued on to its third week, and is showing no signs of slowing down.

After media reports of the park's closing, Governor David Paterson and the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historical Preservation announced on Friday, Feb. 19, that 41 of its 178 parks, including Thacher, and 14 of its 38 historic sites will be closed as a result cuts made to the department in the executive budget.

The announcement has caused an outpouring of support for the park from local and state officials, and area park goers.

Most recently, at its Tuesday, March 2 meeting, the Guilderland Town Board unanimously passed a resolution calling upon the Governor and State Legislature to continue to fund staff and operations at John Boyd Thacher State Park.

"Thacher Park is an important resource to the residents of the Town of Guilderland," said Supervisor Ken Runion, who introduced the resolution. He said the park offers invaluable recreational opportunities to the residents of Guilderland, however if closed, the Town will also suffer an economic impact.

"Businesses, particularly in Altamont, derive revenue and business through tourists going through Thacher Park," he said

He also reiterated a line he said he has read many times. He said "If you want to build a good community, build a park."

Councilman Warren Redlich said "I think state government and the state legislature have to find other places to cut before the cut parks."

Councilman Mark Grimm shared the sentiment of his republican colleague, "It's hard to believe that in a one hundred and thirty four billion dollar budget, we can't afford to keep Thacher Park open."

Councilwoman Patricia Slavick said considering high gas prices, Thacher Park is an accessible get away for local residents, and is often the destination for many school trips.

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