The land contained significant wetlands and development faced strict environmental restrictions and permitting requirements. He donated it in 2006 after he was unable to gain town approvals to develop the property.
Trump said, “I hope that these 436 acres of property will turn into one of the most beautiful parks anywhere in the world.” By 2012, the planned dog park remained on hold due to difficulties raising funds for fences and asbestos abatement.
As of 2015 , the park is not listed at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation park locator, although signs along the nearby Laconic State Parkway direct visitors to Donald J. TrumpStatePark. During a 2015 visit by The Rachel Maddox Show there were no signs of any recent upkeep; instead, the publicly accessible land was found to contain crumbling graffiti-covered buildings, empty map kiosks, and weed-choked parking lots.
Club published a report that the park was an “abandoned wasteland,” with “muddy fields, overgrown tennis courts, and dilapidated buildings” and a swimming pool in disrepair. Park access improvements including an asphalt driveway, gravel parking lot, entrance gates and wood fencing, native tree and shrub plantings were noticed in 2020.
The park is subdivided into two sections, the 282-acre (1.1 km 2) Indian Hill parcel in northern Jefferson Valley (part of the Town of Yorktown in Westchester County) and Putnam Valley (Putnam County), and the 154-acre (0.6 km 2) French Hill parcel in southern Yorktown Heights, fully within the Town of Yorktown. The parkland features a mix of continuous forest, open meadows, and several large wetlands.
The Indian Hill section was formerly farmland but the farm houses and other buildings were all demolished by 2004. Headwaters for two streams, French Hill Brook and Dogwood Creek, are located within the French Hill section of the park.
In late 2015, State Senator Daniel Squadron introduced an “Anything But Trump Act” to change the park's name. Several suggestions for a name change were offered by elected officials.
Assemblyman Charles D. Ravine suggested that the park be named for Peter Salem, an African American who served in the American Revolutionary War and is thought by some historians to have been Muslim, while the district's U.S. Representative Sean Patrick Maloney suggested that the park be named after folk singer Pete Seeger. In response, Trump suggested that New York State return the park's land to his ownership.
Efforts to rename the park after Peter Seeger continued in early 2016 with a petition by activist group “People for the Pete Seeger State Park on Change.org. In September 2017, New York's 25th Assembly District Representative Nile Comic, a Democrat, suggested renaming the park in honor of Heather Hair, who died in the Charlottesville car attack protesting the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
No renaming of the park has been undertaken and the proposal was largely ignored. Comic, along with New York State Senator Brad Holman, reintroduced legislation to rename the park in 2018 but it did not make it out of committee.
^ “Governor Atari and Donald Trump Announce Land Gift” (Press release). ^ “Spend a lovely day in... Trump State Park ".
Donald J. Trump State Park's Abandoned Gilded Age Estate”. “I went to Donald Trump's shitty $100 million tax break park ".
Donald J. Trump State Park Signs Still Lead to Vacant Land”. “Statements from Governor David A. Paterson and Commissioner Carol Ash on Parks Budget Cuts”.
NYS Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation. “The charities Donald Trump gave money to and what it says about his candidacy”.
“Tasman: Mr. Trump, take down those signs on the Laconic Parkway”. Donald J. Trump State Park is as ugly and dilapidated as its namesake's soul”.
“Demands to Rename Donald J. Trump State Park Gain Ground”. Trump on state park fight: “If they want, they can give me the land back ".
^ State Lawmakers Again Trying to Remove Trump Name From Park ". VT: Trump bought the land for 2 million, filled with asbestos lined buildings, rotting away, too expensive to clean up.
Federal law requires anyone taking a write-off of more than $5000 to provide a “qualified appraisal” to justify the deduction. There is no record of any kind of any appraisal being made whatsoever, according to Hal Goldman, who was handled this transaction for the Trump organization.
Follow signs promoting the park, as a tourist might, and you’ll find an overgrown, unmanaged piece of property: a barely paved road seems to lead nowhere; asbestos-filled buildings covered in graffiti are crumbling; parking lots are overrun with weeds. Before donating the mess, Trump hid the asbestos pollution then lobbied local officials (note we didn’t say ‘bribe’) to set its value at 5 times assessment.
Trump ’s initial idea was to put a golf course here and in the process cut directly into the local drinking water source as well as that for New York City. Trump, according to Tim Miller, an environmental consultant who worked on the plans, never spent a cent on the property.
When Trump tried to unload the worthless property, he turned to Michael Cohen to “lean on” local officials. The deal was for Cohen to “convince” locals to give a “zoning opinion” that would justify a valuation of $27.5 million.
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While the fragments of Trump ’s finances are still being investigated, there’s one unusually large relic of his dealings just an hour’s drive north of New York City. In fact, it’s two tracts of muddy, overgrown land between New York’s Putnam and Westchester counties that Trump purchased in 1998 for $2.75m, hoping to build a golf course.
Neighborhood officials halted the plan, citing environmental concerns, and the land was abandoned. Photograph: Wilfred ChanT he lucrative donation deal was approved by Bernadette Castro, a friend of Trump ’s and former CEO of Castro Convertibles, a pullout sofa company, who was appointed New York parks commissioner by the then Republican governor, George Atari.
The park was officially closed in 2010 after budget cuts, saving the state just $2,500 in annual expenses. A subsequent attempt by local residents to turn part of the land into a dog park was scrapped when it was found that some of the site’s decaying structures contained asbestos.
Donald J. TrumpStatePark is covered in weeds, wild brush, and the foundations of abandoned homes. Donald J. TrumpStatePark was created as a result of Trump ’s failed attempt to build a golf course in upstate New York.
When his plans were foiled by surrounding towns, he eventually gave the land to New York as a “gift” so it could be turned into a park. Given an operating budget of $2,500 a year, very little development happened, especially after asbestos was found in some abandoned buildings, which have since been mostly demolished.
But there are unmarked paths to stroll, and given the lack of promotion (a rarity for anything named after Trump), those hikers who do check out the park report that it is pleasant and peaceful.