Press Release Feb 17, 2018

New York’s Elected Officials to Congress: Fix Our National Parks, Support Job Creation

Analysis demonstrates federal investment in deferred maintenance at parks could create or support 9,847 direct and indirect New York jobs.

NEW YORK – New York’s elected officials and conservation advocates convened today on the steps of the Federal Hall National Memorial – the site where George Washington took the oath of office as our nation’s first president and where our first Congress wrote the Bill of Rights – to mark the President’s Day holiday and call for funding to address the nearly $1 billion in deferred maintenance at National Park Service (NPS) sites across the state.

Nationwide, the total backlog for all NPS sites is more than $11.6 billion. New York is home to 23 NPS sites, including three in New York City that honor past presidents:

  • George Washington (Federal Hall National Memorial) - $1.78 million in needed repairs,
  • Ulysses S. Grant (General Grant National Memorial) - $5.28 in needed Theodore Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site) - $3.9 million in needed repairs.

Combined, these three parks have a near $11 million backlog of repairs, just a portion of the nearly $1 billion in backlog needs for all NPS sites in New York state.

Officials joined the event’s hosts, National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and The Pew Charitable Trusts, to call attention to the growing deferred maintenance in New York and the nation’s national park sites and highlight the positive economic impacts addressing it would create in the state.

“Our national parks, monuments, and historic sites are a sacred trust for our kids and for future generations,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “The funds and labor that goes into preserving and helping Americans and visitors from around the world enjoy these treasured sites aren’t spent – they’re invested. “From our nation’s first capitol building here at Federal Hall to the Stonewall National Monument, and from Acadia National Park in Maine to the Grand Canyon, the national park system safeguards our historic and natural heritage. It needs and deserves our support.”

From the Statue Liberty to Fort Stanwix, New York’s national parks are seeing record visitation. In 2016 alone, over 18 million people visited New York’s national parks, revenue that supported 8,315 jobs and ultimately generating upwards of $853 million for the state economy. With record visitation comes wear and tear to a park’s facilities and infrastructure resulting in needed repairs and maintenance.

Fortunately, fixing national parks helps to generate economic activity and job growth. In fact, a recent analysis commissioned by The Pew Charitable Trusts and conducted by the Cadmus Group found by addressing deferred maintenance, 9,847 jobs could be created or supported right here in New York State.

“New York City’s park sites celebrate and represent more than 200 years of American history. But they also need millions in repairs,” said Cortney Worrall, Senior Regional Director for NPCA’s Northeast Regional Office. “This shouldn’t be how we treat places so important to our country’s history. Park sites like Federal Hall where George Washington took the first oath of office need and deserve more funding to make repairs. We must make sure future generations of visitors can enjoy and explore these places representing America’s heritage. Now is the time to fix our parks. “

In prepared statements in advance of today’s event, other elected officials also voiced support for more funding for park repairs.

“This President’s Day weekend, I am proud to stand with the National Parks Conservation Association and the Pew Charitable Trust to call for increased funding to address the nearly $1 billion in deferred maintenance at National Park Service (NPS) sites across New York,” said Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “Our national parks, monuments, and other public sites are the crown jewels of this country and New York locations are some of the most recognized sites around the world. Investing in our national parks spurs economic growth and creates thousands of jobs throughout New York State. These special places house natural and cultural treasures that should be protected for enjoyment today and by future generations.”

“Federal investment in our national parks is integral to the upkeep and longevity of the parks, roads, and bridges that New Yorkers enjoy,” said Rep. Joe Crowley (NY-14). “Our public lands currently face a long list of repairs necessary to keep these works functioning and open to the public. I am proud to join with the National Parks Conservation Association and the Pew Charitable Trust to encourage funding to protect these public lands so that they can be enjoyed for years to come.”

“In New York State alone our national park sites face $1 billion in backlogged repair needs, and right here in New York City three parks honoring past presidents – Washington, Grant and Theodore Roosevelt –face nearly $11 million in repairs,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10). “We have to end the cycle of damaging budget proposals and deal with the urgent need to repair our parks. Our national parks in New York City and all across the country are America’s treasures. We are entrusted to pass them on to future generations but more cuts would jeopardize these historic landmarks and landscapes. I call on the Trump Administration to work with both parties in Congress on an infrastructure plan with bipartisan appeal that properly maintains our natural resources and cultural heritage for future generations of Americans.”

“From Fort Wadsworth to the Statue of Liberty, national parks on Staten Island and Brooklyn, as well as across New York City, enrich our great community,” said Rep. Daniel M. Donovan, Jr. (NY-11). “Preserving New York’s historic and memorable places for generations to come is a worthy effort, and one that I continue to support in Congress.”

“The national parks system preserves historic sites across our city, our state, and our country and provides important lessons for Americans of all ages. As we celebrate President’s Day Weekend, we must also commit to ensuring these parks and our nation’s heritage survive for generations to come,” said New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh. “From Federal Hall, to Castle Clinton, to the African Burial Ground, to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, to Governors Island, to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the 26th Senate District is filled with sites that the National Parks Service has taken care of for years – and we must fully fund their upkeep.”

“I stand with advocates to call for federal investment for our monuments and parks, which would also help attract dozens of jobs for our communities,” said New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “Federal Hall National Memorial is in my district, and this monument honoring George Washington attracts hundreds of visitors every day. It’s a familiar sight for those who live in lower Manhattan, and it would be disheartening to see it fall into disrepair. Right now, Federal Hall National Memorial needs approximately $1.7 million in repairs, and it is critical that this monument and others in our state get the funding they need to be maintained. Thank you to the National Parks Conservation Association and advocates for your work, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to preserve and improve our parks in New York State.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.

The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today’s most challenging problems. Learn more at pewtrusts.org. More information on deferred maintenance in national parks is available at pewtrusts.org/en/projects/restore-americas-parks.