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Long Island parks to undergo improvements under Cuomo’s plan

An artist's rendering shows the design for the

An artist's rendering shows the design for the new $18 million Boardwalk Café at Jones Beach in Wantagh, which will open in autumn 2018 and replace the building that had to be torn down in 2004. Photo Credit: New York State Office of Parks

New improvements for Long Island state parks run from the basics, such as restrooms, to more sweeping and modernizing initiatives, including a splash park, the preservation of a historic barn, and the Island’s first cottages.

“We’re going through an amazing transformation; the parks are being redesigned for the future,” said George Gorman, state parks deputy regional director for Long Island.

The funds come from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s plan to spend $900 million of public and private funds statewide on parks from 2011 to 2020.

The parks system had a $1 billion backlog of capital projects when he took office; last week, Cuomo said the state, by allowing the parks to fall into disrepair, had “disrespected our . . . legacy.”

Saluting the Jones Beach upgrades completed so far, including the new West Bathhouse dining room, he said last week: “From one end of the park to the other, we’re going to bring it back to its original majesty.”

The list of projects for this “iconic” park includes playgrounds at the Central Mall and Zach’s Bay, which Gorman said should be finished this summer.

By the East Mall, a zip line and splash park should open next summer, followed by the $18 million Boardwalk Café in autumn 2018. It will replace the building that had to be demolished in 2004.

Here are some other upgrades Long Islanders can expect:

• Bethpage State Park — $500,000

Rebuild bunkers on the Black Course, repair the irrigation system, and overhaul forward tee boxes of several other courses. By April 1.

• Caleb Smith State Park Preserve — $500,000

Stabilize the 260-year-old barn, one of Long Island’s oldest, and open it with exhibits. Build a new barn for maintenance equipment. By 2018.

• Heckscher State Park — $1 million

Build rental cottages. By winter 2018.

• Hempstead Lake State Park — $500,000

Overhaul Field 1 comfort stations, repair infrastructure, including electrical systems and the water main. By April 1.

• Sunken Meadow State Park — $790,000

Improve the entrance, upgrade the toll plaza, automate collection with credit cards. Summer 2018.

• Wildwood State Park — $3 million

Build new rental cottages. Winter 2017/2018

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