Hudson River celebration panned as excessive

Posted: Updated:

Gov. David Paterson is coming under scrutiny because of a yearlong quadricentennial festival for the Hudson River that many say is too costly at a time of economic duress.

Critics say the $4 million allocated for the yearlong event in 2009 to celebrate 400 years since the discovery of the Hudson River is excessive. And despite the fiscal crisis, $3 million more is earmarked in next year's budget.

"I don't know all the details about that," says Michelle Paterson, the governor's wife and chairwoman of the event. "I do know that it was something that started in the Pataki administration and there was legislation passed for that."

The Palisades Interstate Park Commission organized an ice festival as part of this year's event and says since the money was allocated years ago, next year's funding remains in question.

"We were very fortunate to receive funding for the quadricentennial this year, but we will not have any of that funding next year," says Tim Englert, a member of the commission. "We were small last year and we were big this year. Perhaps we will be somewhere in the middle next year."

The $3 million for 2010 is expected to be used toward educational projects in counties along the Hudson River and on the pier in New York City.

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