On Election Day next month, Unshackle Upstate is asking all New Yorkers who support a strong Upstate to turn their ballot over and support Ballot Proposal #3.

Ballot Proposal #3, formally referred to as “The Public Health and Safety Land Account” is a commonsense, non-partisan reform that will allow certain communities in the North County and Hudson Valley to operate in a modern and efficient fashion while also ensuring that our beautiful environmental assets, The Adirondack and Catskills Parks, remain protected as state forest preserves.

If approved by voters, Ballot Proposal #3 will end the requirement for Adirondack and Catskill communities to have the New York State Constitution amended any time that they want to pursue, minor, non-intrusive projects to the benefit of their residents, like road maintenance, utility upgrades or bike paths.

Amending the state constitution takes a long time (two years, at least) and requires a great deal of effort. It’s a huge impediment for local governments that are just trying to undertake the most basic municipal projects. No other communities in the state must contend with such an onerous and outdated process.

Unshackle Upstate strongly believes that the Adirondack and Catskill preserves are vital environmental and economic assets to Upstate New York and their protection is an essential interest to our regional economy and quality of life.

Ballot Proposal #3 ensures that our parkland is protected and strengthened while still allowing for communities within the parks’ boundaries to execute basic projects like water wells, roadside drainage upgrades and broadband installation.

The amendment requires New York State to first purchase and add 250 acres of new land to the Forest Preserve.

This would create a 250 acre “land bank” that communities within the parks could access to complete their essential municipal projects without reducing acreage of the preserve and without having to go through the minimum 3-year process of amending the state constitution for simple projects.

Because of these strong environmental protections, environmental advocacy groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council, the New York League of Conservation Voters and the Nature Conservancy in New York have joined with business and civic organizations across Upstate in support of Ballot Proposal #3.

See a full list of those supporting Ballot Proposal #3 here and learn more about the Public Health and Safety Land Account here.

And most importantly, VOTE YES on Ballot Proposal #3 this Election Day.