The Milburn Creek Boat Basin in Freeport has opened for the summer season after a yearlong $4 million renovation.
The area was open briefly in October to allow boaters to get their vessels out of the water, but this is its first full season open after the construction that began in 2015, said Brian Schneider, the assistant to Nassau County’s deputy commissioner of public works for administration.
The boat launch first opened in 1963 and over the years the bulkhead and other areas have deteriorated, especially after Tropical Storm Irene and superstorm Sandy. The damage forced Nassau County to close off parts of the basin, Schneider said. The launch is part of Milburn Creek Park, one of the county’s passive parks. It includes open space and trails as well as the boat basin.
“This park has been an underutilized and underappreciated area for probably a couple of decades,” Schneider said.
The county was able to take $1.1 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds that were originally designated for the Cow Meadow Park & Preserve in Freeport and put it toward the Milburn Creek Boat Basin instead, he said. The county paid about $3 million from its capital fund for the rest of the renovation.
“It had been dilapidated for many years and we were getting lots of complaints about it,” Nassau Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) said. “When government works well, we see this sort of project. I think this is what residents expect.”
Among the features of the renovation are a vinyl bulkhead, a handicapped-accessible kayak launch, a boardwalk made of Brazilian walnut, a parking lot with “porous” pavement to reduce storm-water runoff into Milburn Creek, and a comfort station and seating area.
“It really creates a nice vista for folks just to stroll or fish,” Schneider said. “We want to make this a destination for people to come and enjoy the water.”
Milburn Creek is the border between Freeport and Baldwin, and connects to the South Shore Blueway water trails. The boat basin is on the Freeport side, but a path on the other side of the creek in Baldwin is being renovated with new fencing, lighting and garbage cans, Schneider said.
“Anything that cleans up, protects and makes better use of nature and boat launches is great,” Hempstead Town Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney (R-Wantagh) said.
A one-day boat launch permit at Milburn Creek costs $25, Schneider said. Annual passes also are available. Commercial boats must pay $175 for a day and show a certificate of liability insurance. A $30 Nassau County Leisure Pass is also required.