Dozens of shuttered state parks should reopen, just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.
Early this morning, the State Assembly passed a bill that would provide $11 million for park operations this year.
This afternoon, the State Senate voted this afternoon to approve the measure.
The agreement reached with Governor David Paterson yesterday takes about $80 million from the state's Environmental Protection Fund. Of that money, $6 million will go toward reopening the parks and the remaining $74 million will go toward closing the state's $9.2 billion budget deficit.
The Paterson administration had closed 41 parks and 14 historic sites, including Bayswater Point Park in Queens to try to save money.
Critics say taking money from the Environmental Protection Fund will lead to drastic cuts for the Bronx Zoo and Botanical Garden, but the Assembly speaker says those institutions will not be affected.
"These are important for tourism, for recreation, all the things that make New York great,” said Bill Ulfelder of the Nature Conservancy. “To reduce this spending is devastating. The EPF has been treated like a punching bag through the budget process."
The money shuffle may solve the problem for now, but there are no guarantees New Yorkers won't be locked out of their park again next year.