Kings Park civic groups have partnered with New York State and the Town of Smithtown to complete a roughly a quarter-mile extension of a local hike and bike trail.
The extension runs along the Kings Park Long Island Rail Road spur and connects onto the existing 1.5-mile trail at the Nissequogue River State Park, said town planning director Frank DeRubeis.
The extension, completed in late April, expanded the southwest portion of the trail to Main Street, where it ends at the municipal parking lot opposite the Kings Park Fire Department, he said.
"You now have direct access to the trails right from the downtown, which means that somebody coming from New York City who's interested in hiking any of the trails through Sunken Meadow State Park have only a few hundred feet from the train to the entrance of the trail," said DeRubeis, noting the previous distance was nearly three-quarters of a mile from the station.
DeRubeis said the project was "a community effort," with the town allocating more than $50,000 in grant money, civic organizations such as the Kings Park Civic Association donating landscaping, and the town's highway department assisting with grading and paving, additional landscaping, kiosks and signage, respectively.
The Nissequogue River State Park Foundation donated nearly $10,000 in trees and plants, said foundation chairman John McQuaid.
"It's a perfect opportunity to connect the park to downtown Kings Park. Part of our mission is to introduce the park to as many New York residents as possible," McQuaid said. "That was a great example of a bunch of community groups working together with the state and the town."