Press-Republican

Local News

October 3, 2009

Local officials rap camp re-use effort

Critical of marketing put into Gabriels

GABRIELS — Local officials question how much effort the Department of Correctional Services put into marketing closed Camp Gabriels prison for re-use.

"I plan to find out how much marketing DOCS did," Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) told the Press-Republican.

"It just appears that the state is giving up rather quickly. There has been quite a lot of investment there in recent years; Camp Gabriels has a new wastewater treatment plant and a new water system.

"You have to wonder how much effort they put into this report."

FEDERAL PRISON

Little was dismayed by the report's finding that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has lost interest in re-using Camp Gabriels as a minimum-security facility.

"I had a lot of interest for this federal camp conversion. (DOCS) Commissioner (Brian) Fischer told me the federal government was interested just a couple weeks ago, and they were looking for the money," Little said.

"Then the report comes out, and it's all over. We can't give up that quickly."

Little plans to take the issue up with Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) right away.

She was appalled at the idea of tearing the camp down.

"This talk of demolition is a waste of state money. It's almost like they have no use for it, and no one's come asking, so they think it should just be torn down."

NO RE-USE PLAN

Councilwoman Sheila Delarm from the Town of Brighton, where the prison sits empty on 200-plus acres, was also critical of the state's effort.

"My understanding is that DOCS was legally obligated to develop strategies to minimize the impact of Camp Gabriels' closure on the local and regional economies. I don't see Commissioner Fischer's plan as fulfilling that commitment. A list of alternatives is not a re-use plan.

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