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Ringwood Manor Theft Shows Budgets Have Consequences

Date : Fri, 4 Mar 2011 15:40:11 -0500

For Immediate Release
March 4, 2011 Contact Jeff Tittel, 609-558-9100

Ringwood Manor Theft Shows Budgets Have Consequences

The break in and theft of irreplaceable artifacts, paintings, and even guns is not only a tragedy and loss for the people and state of new jersey, but it shows the incompetence and stupidly in DEP and state of New Jersey for nor adequately protecting these historic artifacts. This is the consequences of budget cuts by not having enough personnel or staffing to adequately secure irreplaceable and priceless gifts. These were gifts given to the state of New Jersey by the Hewitt and Cooper families as was Ringwood Manor and all the Park land.

"Budget cuts have consequences when you cut back on staffing and funding for parks this is one of those tragic outcomes," Jeff Tittel, Director of New Jersey Sierra Club.

These are our legacies that belong in New Jersey and to not have them adequately protected is disgraceful. Park funding is down 30% from two years ago last year the funding was slashed 40% and this year has a modest increase. Park staffing continues to drop despite the state"s growing open space roster and the need to steward more public land. In 1995, there were 850 employees in the Parks and Forestry program. Now the program is down to about 450 employees and changes to the pension programs could lower staff further including 40% to park police. Cut backs in parks will affect tourism in the state, hurt the economy and lead to these consequences. We have seen staffing in parks and forestry at 875 in mid the 90s and 450 today with open space almost doubling.

"Christie has proposed privatizing parks and historic sites. How many artifacts will walk out of the door when private corporations and minimum wage workers get to manage out historic sites and state parks?" Tittel said. "The cavalier attitude that this and so many other Administrations have towards parks and historic sites has led to this shocking and terrible loss of irreplaceable treasure that belong to all the people of New Jersey."

My family has been three generation property owners in Ringwood. Ringwood Manor is one of those places I hold dear to my heart. I first went to Ringwood Manor when I was 4 years old and was fascinated by the Civil War Era guns that were stolen. I hope one of them was not the 12 barrel musket that was fascinating as were the paintings, artwork, and historic furniture. It is a place I visit as frequently as I can and have spent a good part of my professional and volunteer life working to help protect Ringwood Manor. I lead the battle in the mid 1990s trying to protect the view shed of Ringwood Manor from three radio towers that would have obscured the historic view from the Manor itself. I spent many summers going to concerts on the lawn, art shows, and plays that have occurred at the Manor. I have been active with different groups trying to raise money to keep the Manor going.

"The Cro pse y painting of Greenwood Lake was always one of my favorites it shows Greenwood Lake a 130 years ago when it was surround by woods and farms before there were Jet skis and restaurants," said Tittel.

Ringwood Manor is a National Historic Landmark considered first in the northeast second only to Mount Vernon as a Manor house that is important to the American people. Robert Erskine the Survey General of the Continental Army made many of the maps for Revolutionary War at Ringwood Manor. George Washington stayed there plenty of times and the Battle of Yorktown was basically planned at Ringwood Manor. The house was Victorianized in the 1880s, which the Cooper -Hewitt family later donated the Manor and all property to the state in 1936. Iron ore from Ringwood mines made musket balls and cannons for the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and the Civil War. All the artifacts in the Manor were part of the donation made by the Cooper-Hewitt family.

"I hope and pray that these people are caught and the artifacts are returned in a quickly. We must have enough staffing and policies to ensure that this does not happen here or at any other historic site," Jeff Tittel said.

Greenwood_Lake__1870.jpg Received on 2011-03-04 12:40:11

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