Gateway National Recreation Area, featuring such gems as Charles Park and Jamaica Bay, hosted “I Love my Park Day” events.
By Forum Staff
Just in time for “I Love my Park Day” last weekend, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced $90 million in revitalization and rehabilitation projects at nearly 50 State parks and historic sites across New York this year.
According to the administration, the funding was included in the recently enacted 2018-2019 State Budget and is part of Cuomo’s NY Parks 2020 plan – a $700 million investment in 176 parks and historic sites in the State green space system that began in 2011.
Four NYC parks are among the revitalization and rehabilitation projects planned for this year, including $15 million earmarked for constructing a new State green space at Jamaica Bay.
“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,” Cuomo said. “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.”
According to the State, 55 percent of the $700 million in funding has been to repair and improve basic infrastructure—sewer, water systems, roads, bridges, culverts, bathrooms, electrical system and internet connectivity. NY Parks 2020 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, according to the administration.
Park visitation has increased 23 percent since 2011 to 71 million visitors last year.
“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 Lt. Gov. 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.”
Ten parks in the Big Apple participated in Saturday’s festivities, including Gateway National Recreation Area, which is home to Frank M. Charles Memorial Park and Jamaica Bay.
According to Cuomo, in addition to $70 million in construction projects announced on Friday, 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.