Governor Announces $90 Million in NY Parks 2020 Improvement Projects

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Posted: Monday, May 7, 2018 7:46 pm | Updated: 7:53 pm, Mon May 7, 2018.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced $90 million in revitalization and rehabilitation projects at nearly 50 State parks and historic sites across New York this year. The funding, included in the 2018-19 State Budget, continues a major transformation of the park system that has invested more than $700 million into park and historic site improvements since 2011.

"Our world-class parks system attracts millions of New Yorkers and visitors each year, and this ongoing financial commitment will help ensure these jewels remain in good repair for years to come," said Governor Cuomo. "This investment will continue to make much needed improvements and repairs at cherished State Parks to promote healthy outdoor recreation, preserve our environment and boost local economies."

The projects are part of the Governor's NY Parks 2020 plan, a multi-year commitment to revitalize the state park system. The Governor committed $90 million to the effort in the 2018-19 State Budget. To date, the initiative has invested $700 million in 176 parks and historic sites, including installing 76 playgrounds, conserving 14,000 acres of buffer lands, rehabilitating 200 miles of trails, and beginning the building or improvement of 300 cabins and cottages and 30 nature and cultural centers.

Fifty-five percent of the funding has been to repair and improve basic infrastructure, sewer, water systems, roads, bridges, culverts, bathrooms, electrical system and internet connectivity. The initiative is also prioritizing the transformation of 31 flagship parks and parks that served communities that lack access to outdoor recreation, these parks serve 80 percent of the system's visitation. In the same period, park visitation has increased 23 percent to 71 million visitors last year. A new progress report, Building Better Parks, details how the investment is modernizing and transforming the park system.

"Parks are the gems of communities across the state, and this funding will allow for improvements to enhance them for families and children to continue to enjoy," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "New York is home to some of the most beautiful parks and iconic historic sites in the world. I encourage New Yorkers to volunteer as part of 'I Love My Park Day' to help cleanup and prepare for the long awaited summer season."

The announcement comes as thousands of New Yorkers prepare to volunteer for the seventh annual I Love My Park Day, to be held on May 5, 2018 at state parks, historic sites and public lands across New York. The event, sponsored by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Parks & Trails New York, is a statewide event to enhance parks, historic sites and public lands and raise awareness and visibility to the state's outdoor recreation assets and their needs. Volunteers will have the opportunity to participate in clean up events at 135 state parks, historic sites and public lands, including sites operated by the Department of Environmental Conservation, the National Park Service and municipal parks.

"Governor Cuomo is leading the way in modernizing the oldest state park system in the nation," said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. "We have begun reversing years of decline at our historic flagship parks, while expanding recreational access for the communities that have been underserved for too long. Park visitors to Niagara Falls, Watkins Glen, Green Lakes, Roberto Clemente, Jones Beach, Olana, Harriman and many more will see we have touched every corner of the state."

In addition to $70 million in construction projects announced today, the budget provides $20 million for various system-wide improvements, such as investment in signage, technology, natural resource stewardship, and allocates funding for design of future projects, emergencies, engineering and construction oversight.

SOURCE: Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

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