Donald J. Trump State Park
|Donald J. Trump State Park|
Entrance sign to Donald J. Trump State Park
|Type||State park (undeveloped)|
|Location||Westchester and Putnam counties, New York|
|Area||436 acres (1.76 km2)|
|Operated by||New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation|
The park consists of undeveloped property that was donated to New York State in 2006 by developer and future President Donald J. Trump. Maintenance of the park was halted in 2010 due to budget constraints, and the park remains largely undeveloped as of 2015. Most of the buildings have been demolished, only a few foundations and the existing tennis court remain as of 2017[update].
Trump purchased the property for $2 million in the 1990s, and donated it in 2006 after he was unable to gain town approvals to develop a private golf course on the property. At that time Trump claimed the parcel was worth $100 million. He used the donation as a tax write-off.
New York State announced the park's closure due to budget cuts in February 2010. It was questioned whether the closure was necessary since the operating budget for the park was only $2,500 a year and it was maintained by workers from the nearby Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park. Although Trump threatened to take the parkland back after the closure was announced, the land remains in the control of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
An attempt to convert a portion of the park's French Hill section for use as a dog park in 2010 revealed that at least one of the park's abandoned buildings contained asbestos. By 2012, the planned dog park remained on hold due to difficulties raising funds for fences and asbestos abatement.
As of 2015[update], the park remains officially closed and is not listed at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation park locator, although signs along the nearby Taconic State Parkway direct visitors to Donald J. Trump State Park. During a 2015 visit by The Rachel Maddow Show there were no signs of any recent upkeep; instead, the publicly accessible land was found to contain crumbling graffiti-covered buildings, empty map kiosks, and weed-choked parking lots.
In 2017, website The A.V. Club published a report that the park was an "abandoned wasteland," with "muddy fields, overgrown tennis courts, and dilapidated buildings" and a swimming pool in disrepair.
Attempts to rename
In late 2015, State Senator Daniel Squadron introduced an "Anything But Trump Act" to change the park's name. Several suggestions for a name change were offered by elected officials. Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine suggested that the park be named for Peter Salem, an African American who served in the American Revolutionary War and is thought by some historians to have been Muslim, while the district's U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney suggested that the park be named after folk singer Pete Seeger. In response, Trump suggested that New York State return the park's land to his ownership. Efforts to rename the park after Peter Seeger continued in early 2016 with a petition by activist group "People for the Pete Seeger State Park" on Change.org.
In September 2017, New York's 25th Assembly District Representative Nily Rozic, a Democrat, suggested renaming the park in honor of Heather Heyer, who died in the Charlottesville car attack protesting the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. No renaming of the park has been undertaken and the proposal was largely ignored. Rozic, along with New York State Senator Brad Hoylman, reintroduced legislation to rename the park in 2018 but it did not make it out of committee. They again introduced legislation in 2019 to rename the park.
The park is subdivided into two sections, the 282-acre (1.1 km2) Indian Hill parcel in northern Jefferson Valley (part of the Town of Yorktown in Westchester County) and Putnam Valley (Putnam County), and the 154-acre (0.6 km2) French Hill parcel in southern Yorktown Heights, fully within the Town of Yorktown. The parkland features a mix of continuous forest, open meadows, and several large wetlands. Headwaters for two streams, French Hill Brook and Dogwood Creek, are located within the French Hill section of the park.
- "Governor Pataki and Donald Trump Announce Land Gift". New York State Governor's Press Releases. April 19, 2006. Archived from the original on December 9, 2006. Retrieved April 14, 2015.
- "Spend a lovely day in... Trump State Park". Today.com. Associated Press. April 19, 2006. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- Kilgannon, Corey (March 3, 2010). "Trump State Park Fired. Trump Displeased". The New York Times. Retrieved July 22, 2015.
- Peck, Jamie (December 21, 2015). "I went to Donald Trump's shitty $100 million tax break park". DeathandTaxes.com. Archived from the original on December 23, 2015.
- Coren, Courtney (August 10, 2015). "Donald J. Trump State Park Signs Still Lead to Vacant Land". Newsmax. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
- "Statements from Governor David A. Paterson and Commissioner Carol Ash on Parks Budget Cuts". NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. February 19, 2010. Retrieved April 13, 2015.
- Elstein, Aaron (July 31, 2015). "The charities Donald Trump gave money to and what it says about his candidacy". Crain's New York Business. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
- Pesheva, Plamena (June 25, 2010). "Town Board Discusses Trump Park's Dog Park". Retrieved August 2, 2015.
- "Yorktown Dog Park Advocates Peeved With Obstacles". Yorktown Daily Voice. July 7, 2012. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
- NYS Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. "State Park Search Results". Nysparks.com. Archived from the original on August 2, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
- Reisman, Phil (July 2, 2015). "Reisman: Mr. Trump, take down those signs on the Taconic Parkway". The Journal News. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
- Donald J Trump State Park? Not exactly. The Rachel Maddow Show. MSNBC. July 17, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015.
- Eakin, Marah. "Donald J. Trump State Park is as ugly and dilapidated as its namesake's soul". News. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
- Millward, David (December 18, 2015). "Calls to rename Donald Trump state park in New York". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- Edelman, Adam (December 17, 2015). "New York lawmakers introduce 'Anything But Trump Act' to strip Donald Trump's name from undeveloped state park". New York Daily News.
- Foderaro, Lisa W. (December 18, 2015). "Demands to Rename Donald J. Trump State Park Gain Ground". The New York Times. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- Spector, Joseph (December 18, 2015). "Trump on state park fight: "If they want, they can give me the land back"". The Journal News. Retrieved December 18, 2015.
- Adler, Ben (February 5, 2016). "A movement to make Trump Park great again — by renaming it for Pete Seeger". Grist. Retrieved September 28, 2016.
- "New York lawmaker aims to rename Trump park for Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer". Fox News. September 6, 2017. Retrieved September 7, 2017.
- "State Lawmakers Again Trying to Remove Trump Name From Park". NBC New York. Retrieved February 10, 2019.