Eight state parks on Long Island will be getting a bit of a makeover, thanks to $18.5 million in funding earmarked in the 2015-16 state budget.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's office announced yesterday -- in advance of today's Earth Day celebrations -- that $71.7 million will be spent on 88 renovation and revitalization projects at 60 state parks and historic sites.
The projects are part of the NY Parks 2020 plan, a multi-year effort aimed at investing $900 million in state parks with public and private funds.
"New York is home to some of the top outdoor recreational and historic sites in the world, and it is critical that we safeguard them for generations to come," Cuomo said in a statement.
Jones Beach State Park received the most Long Island funding: $10 million for continued improvements, including renovating the Marine Dining Room at the West Bathhouse as an event hall with ocean views.
"At the West Bathhouse there was an old ice cream parlor and a meeting room," said George Gorman, deputy regional director on Long Island for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
"Now we're going to reconstruct it to be an event location," he said. "You could have wedding receptions there or all sorts of catered events at that location. It has outstanding views."
Other funds will be used to reconstruct the parking field on the east side of Central Mall and design and begin construction of a concession building there, Gorman said.
At Bethpage State Park, $2.6 million will be spent on replacing the clubhouse's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems. The project will "improve heating and air conditioning, but it will also reduce our energy consumption and bills," Gorman said.
The park's golf courses will get a $500,000 makeover with irrigation upgrades, and new course tees and bunkers, he said.
At Sunken Meadow State Park, new septic systems will be installed for $390,000, and a new toll plaza at the entrance is slated for $1 million.
"That toll plaza is very antiquated and rotting away, so we need to replace it," Gorman said. "When this is done it will be a tremendous improvement as you enter the park and have a park entrance feel to it, not like going into a toll plaza on a major roadway."
Other park improvements: Hither Hills State Park, $1 million for campground improvements; Caumsett State Park, $210,000 for septic system improvements; Robert Moses State Park, $1.4 million for a solar power system; Wildwood State Park, $340,000 for septic system improvements.