Tax status being re-evaluated for private park in Troy

TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It’s a little slice of nature, right in the heart of Troy. But getting into Washington Park, well that requires a key, and only the owners of the buildings surrounding it and their tenants have them.

Lynn Kopka, a city councilwoman, is the head of the Washington Park Association. She explains why the public shouldn’t have access to the land.

“It was created in the late 1830’s as a planned community modeled after gramercy with green space for the residents around it,” Kopka said.

The Washington Park Association has long maintained it.  It’s one of only two private parks in the state. The other is in New York City.

However, in 2013 things got a little trickier. The city confirms it stripped Washington Park of its tax exempt status. The Washington park association picked up the tab, but they’ve also taken the city to court, which is another issue. The city says it doesn’t know who actually owns the park. The records they have are unclear.

“We’ve been taking care of it for 150 years. We’re maintaining it, we’re ensuring it. We’re responsible for it. And our deeds tell us that this is part of our responsibility,” said Kopka.

Those who live and work nearby that don’t have access to the park think differently.

“Some of the kids in the neighborhood do get a little destructive at times, but the kids have their own park up the street a little ways,” said neighbor Carly Evans.

“I definitely think they should be able to use it. It’s a beautiful park. You know I think people should have access to it,” said Karen burger, who works nearby.

“There’s a handful that keep it perfect. And that’s the way it is. If you open it up, that’s gone,” Kopka said.

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