Artist's rendering of a new Visitor Center at Bayard Cutting Arboretum...

Artist's rendering of a new Visitor Center at Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park in Great River Tuesday. Credit: NY State Parks/NY State Parks

One of Long Island’s state parks built on a Gilded Age-era estate is set to get $9.3 million in improvements, including sustainability features and a new glass pavilion visitor center.

Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park in Great River will also get improved parking and enhanced exhibits, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced in a news release Tuesday.

"Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park has been attracting visitors for decades and is a shining example of the great estates on the South Shore of Long Island during the 19th century,” she said. "These improvements will make a visit to this historic site an even more enriching and enjoyable experience and will ensure it is enjoyed by generations of New Yorkers."

The 691-acre park is situated on the Connetquot River and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973 as a historic district, the release said.

The new visitor center will be a 1,600 square-foot building used to house exhibits at the entrance to the 19,000 square-foot 60-room, Tudor-style Cutting mansion. Exhibits will highlight the trees and plants in the arboretum, the science of tree growth, the property's history and the park's response to climate change, the release said.

Also proposed are 248 new, paved and standard-width parking spaces. Electrical service at the mansion will also be upgraded.

Sustainability efforts include a photovoltaic solar power array on the visitor center's roof, LED parking lot lighting, electric vehicle charging stations and pervious asphalt paving in the parking lots that will improve stormwater drainage and water quality, the release said.

"It's been many years of thoughtful preparation between the State and the Trust and we are delighted to participate in this spectacular upgrade to the Arboretum,” Scott Wise, chair of the Bayard Cutting Trustees, said in the release.

The arboretum grounds were designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who had earlier designed Central Park in New York City, for William Bayard Cutting, a wealthy attorney, financier, real estate developer, sugar beet refiner and philanthropist.

The $9.3 million project is being paid for with a $1.5 million donation from the Bayard Cutting board of trustees through the Natural Heritage Trust, a nonprofit; a $4.8 million grant from New York Works, and a federal Land and Water Conservation Fund grant of $2.3 million. A state Environmental Protection Fund grant of $750,000 will also help cover costs.

The multiphase construction project is expected to be completed by fall 2024. The park will remain open during construction.

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