Just a few days after a ribbon cutting for a new park in Chelsea, Governor David Paterson will introduce a bill later today that would keep all the state's parks and historic sites open with regular hours until next March. Pols and residents alike are happy about the news, with Assembly Majority Leader Ron Canestrari saying, "It's great. He's listening to the public, which has been outraged over the park closing. I give him credit for acknowledging it." However, the bill does come with a catch: to fund the parks, the Legislature would have to cut $6 million from the Environmental Protection Fund.

Funding for the parks has been a block in budget negotiations, which have lurched along since the budget's due date on April 1st. The state closed 55 parks and historic sites last week, and reduced hours and services at 23 others in an attempt to save $6.3 million for the budget gap. But Paterson will instead propose that the money come from a 4.5% cut in over 30 EPF programs, including solid waste treatment and the protection of land from development.

Though it seems that state politicians want to keep parks open, some are skeptical about taking money from the EPF. Senate Democratic leader John Sampson said, "We have some concerns about how this problem is being resolved," and reportedly wants to review the details of the bill before fully supporting the idea. Every state senator and Assembly member has at least one park or historic site in his or her district, with 178 state parks total for the state.