Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday announced more than $36 million in improvements for Jones Beach State Park, including restoration of the West Bathhouse, new concessions, a children’s play area and a mobile app that will update visitors in real time about parking availability.
The project, part of a state-funded $65 million overhaul of Jones Beach facilities, will restore the “former grandeur” of the park, which had fallen into disrepair in recent years, Cuomo said.
“We let it degrade for decades,” said Cuomo, who recalledvisiting the park as a youth growing up in Queens. “My generation saw the degradation and saw the buildings deteriorating. We saw the buildings closing and the boardwalk breaking. And it was sad. And we have reversed all of this.”
Rose Harvey, commissioner of the State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation, said the dilapidated West Bathhouse, which opened in 1931 and has undergone a $16 million overhaul, had been the “most visible example of a lack of investment” in Jones Beach.
“There was no capital dollars,” Harvey said. “It wasn’t unusable. It was a symbol of noninvestment.”
The state restored the building’s art deco exterior and reopened the central bays of the south building, providing a direct view between the pool and the boardwalk — part of developer Robert Moses’ original design.
The planned renovations include a new cafe serving New York-centric meals, retail space and a replaced pool deck. The final phase of the project calls for an upscale second-floor dining room that will open by early spring 2017.
Construction also will begin in the fall on a $14 million Jones Beach marketplace on the East Mall, which will be home to new restaurants and bathrooms, and office and retail space.
The East Mall site has been vacant since 2004. Construction is expected to be complete by the summer of 2018.
The state also will spend $2.7 million to improve the East Mall games area that includes boccie ball, shuffle board courts and table tennis. The area will be open in the fall.
A $1.5 million East Mall adventure playland will open in the summer of 2017 and feature a zip line, rope courses and sprinkler park.
A restoration of the Central Mall will cost $1.5 million and include new lighting, signage, landscaping and reconstruction of the original fountain. It will open in summer 2017.
Cuomo also said the state will soon release an app that provides motorists with information on lots with available parking spots. Electronic signs on the Southern State Parkway and other roads leading to Jones Beach also will display parking details.