Cash-strapped New York state has talked a good game when it comes to the need to slash spending with its municipalities and school districts, but a $47.4 million land purchase in August by Albany has left some scratching their heads.
The 69,000 acres of property in central Adirondacks has been a lightning rod for praise as well as criticism from those who live in the area. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, from his perspective, believes the purchase will bring a boost to tourism in that region.
"I want people all across the state to see this parcel," Cuomo told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in September. "I want people in New York City to see this parcel. I want the people in New York City to know that from a tourism standpoint, there's northern New York. The orientation is often east-west when you're in New York. My point is that if you live in New York state, there is no reason that you need to leave New York state to vacation. Whatever you could want to do, you could do in the state."
The view from Western New York on the purchase, however, is not as rosy.
Being in a region where many residents believe Albany has neglected us, the major land purchase will not be forgotten when the next state budget is presented. If all goes like previous Cuomo plans, area leaders can expect to hear more about making tough decisions and curtailing spending.
But after spending $47 million of taxpayer money, one has to wonder if the state really can't see the forest for the trees.