Volunteers with The Friends of Harkness are worried about the governor’s proposal which would take half a million dollars from the park’s maintenance fund to help fill the state’s $390 million financial gap.
“They’re not asking a lot from the state. They’re doing a lot of it themselves with weddings and presentations and things like that,” said Shannon Slate of Bloomfield. “Let them keep their own money.”
The weddings held in the mansion have helped raise more than a million dollars for the maintenance fund which could almost be cut in half by the state. About $600-thousand would be left.
“We see the greenhouses in such disarray and we would love to see them revitalized and brought back to life because there’s so much architecture so much history in those greenhouses,” said Slate.
That project could be put on hold and some fear the vibrant beauty of the grounds could fade if the maintenance money is moved.
“It’s our favorite place,” said Elizabeth Berner of Waterford.
“The grounds are maintained beautifully,” added Berner.
Harkness is one of 18 state parks which could lose maintenance money. The 17 other parks have much smaller funds and they could be wiped out if the money is moved.
Moving money from the maintenance funds is expected to add about 1.2 million dollars to the state coffers.