A new program at State Parks now gives you that chance, and has the potential to save some important and historic buildings. The Resident Curator Program will launch with three residential buildings in state parks on Long Island.
Legislation establishing a Resident Curator Program in State Parks was signed into law in August. A. 7392A (Markey) / S. 4757A (Zeldin) authorizes State Parks to enter into agreements with individuals who are willing to invest private funds to rehabilitate and maintain vacant and at-risk residential buildings in state parks and historic sites for which the agency has no public use and lacks the funds or staff resources to improve and maintain, in exchange for receiving a lease to live in the building for up to 40 years. Ownership of the structures will remain with State Parks, and at the end of the lease or term control reverts back to the agency.
The legislation establishes the program with three residential-style properties located in three Long Island parks: Cold Spring Harbor, Heckscher, and Hither Hills State Parks. All three properties have been vacant for many years and need major renovations.
Parks & Trails New York has advocated for this type of innovative thinking and public-private partnership that must be brought into play to ameliorate the immense problem of State Parks’ aging infrastructure. Through the NY Works program, great progress is being made towards addressing the agency’s nearly $1 billion backlog of capital projects. Given the State’s fiscal constraints and the continued slow turnaround of the economy, however, a resident curator program is a very appropriate step to take at this point. Similar programs have been successful in other states, including Maryland and Massachusetts.