Crown Point historic site on state hit list

CROWN POINT - The Crown Point State Historic Site could be closed as part of New York State's budget deficit reduction effort.

In his state budget proposal, Gov. David Paterson called for a $29 million cut in the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation budget.

New York State faces an $8.2 billion budget deficit in 2010-11.

Paterson directed the agency to come up with a list of parks to be closed. That list was announced Feb. 13 and included the Crown Point State Historic Site.

The Crown Point site is among 16 parks and sites in the Saratoga-Capital Region that would be closed or have their hours curtailed.

The proposed closure hinges on adoption of Paterson's budget plan. The budget is expected to be approved in April.

Crown Point has two full-time employees, a site manager and a maintenance chief and three to five seasonal workers.

Crown Point State Historic Site is one of 35 historic sites and 174 parks operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

It boasts two National Historic Landmarks on 380 acres of Lake Champlain waterfront, the stone remains of the French-built Fort St. Frederic (1734-1759) and the British Crown Point fort (1759-1773).

Both sites have endured through the centuries as authentic ruins, allowing guests to see the foundations of the forts in their original locations and to imagine the forts as they were in the 1700s, when they teemed with activity.

Each year the site hosts a pair of major events, a French & Indian War encampment in August and the annual Festival of Nations in September.

Construction of Fort St. Frederic was complete by 1734. It included a four-story high tower, commander's quarters, canon, a powder magazine, bakery and other buildings surrounded by an outer stone parapet wall that was nearly square and had six corner bastions covering about an acre. It was the base of three major French operations until July 1, 1759, when the British forced its 200-man garrison to blow up the tower and retreat.

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