Cuomo: LI state parks to receive more than $25M in improvements

More than $25 million in improvements at 11 More than $25 million in improvements at 11 Long Island state parks will be funded over the next year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced. Photo Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

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More than $25 million in improvements at 11 Long Island state parks will be funded over the next year, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced yesterday.

The list, released on Earth Day, includes $10 million for the first year of a five-year, $65 million Jones Beach revitalization initiative, and a visitor center for the Island's newest park, Hallock State Park Preserve.

At Robert Moses, the state plans to spend $5 million to rebuild the deteriorating Field 5 swimming beach bathhouse. The park's drinking water treatment plant will be upgraded for another $3.3 million.

At Hallock in Northville, $3 million will go toward construction of a visitor center, access road, environmentally sensitive parking area and trails, providing the first regular public access for the preserve created in 2005. State funds will be matched with private donations, officials said.

Planting Fields Arboretum will also get a runoff-capturing "green" parking area for $200,000, the state said.

Cesspools that don't meet current environmental standards will be replaced at Belmont Lake, Heckscher, Sunken Meadow, Robert Moses and Wildwood at a cost of $1.5 million, the state said. Hempstead Lake will get $1.25 million to improve access to the lake for boating and fishing, and upgrade the picnic area.

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At Belmont Lake, energy-efficient heating and air-conditioning controls will be installed in the administration building for $725,000. The Bethpage clubhouse heating and air-conditioning system will get an energy efficiency makeover for $275,000.

A deteriorating drinking water line will be replaced at Orient Beach for $200,000. The state will also spend $100,000 to replace trees destroyed by superstorm Sandy at various parks.

"As we celebrate Earth Day, we continue to invest in our parks and historic sites statewide," Cuomo said in a statement. "New York is proud to have the nation's oldest state park system, and we will continue to do all that we can to preserve and guard these natural resources so that they can be enjoyed for generations to come."

Statewide, $90 million has been committed to park rehabilitation in 2014-15 -- the third year of Cuomo's New York Works program. In the first two rounds, the state spent $265 million on improvements to 81 parks and historic sites.

"New York's state parks are benefiting from one of the greatest periods of investment in their history," said Erik Kulleseid, executive director of the Open Space Institute's Alliance for New York State Parks.

@Newsday

The alliance advocates for park development and funding, raising public awareness and private funding.

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