The last forty-eight hours have seen a series of strong statements, pro and con, for the 69,000 acre land deal signed Sunday by Governor Andrew Cuomo. One of the most interesting conversations is happening within local government.
At least three prominent local officials have come out in support of the $47 million dollar deal, including Essex County chair Randy Douglas and Minerva town supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey, both Democrats.
The official press release also included positive comments from North Hudson town supervisor Ronald Moore.
“The Boreas Ponds tract could be a big draw for people to hike, fish, hunt, and camp. It is a truly magnificent area that will at some point be open to the public,” he said.
But the Park’s two big local government groups — the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board and the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages have both issued strongly worded statements opposing the deal.
The Review Board calls the deal “unprecedented in its overall fiscal irresponsibility,” while AATV president Brian Towers suggested that the land effort would put “a boot across our necks.”
Towers described the deal as continuing “a long history of questionable land acquisition supported by extreme environmentalists and ignorance of the fragile Adirondack Park economy.”
The differing views here continue a long debate within local government over the Finch Pruyn project. Many communities negotiated closely with the Nature Conservancy, and arranged side deals allowing them to purchase land for local projects.
When the Finch Pruyn effort was unveiled in 2007, not a single town voted to exercise the veto-power that communities hold over projects funded through the Environmental Protection Fund.
But later, after the AATV and the Review Board began campaigning to revise the deal, some communities passed resolutions calling for the land purchase to be scaled back or canceled.