Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has unveiled a seven-point framework of the NY Parks 2020 Plan that is expected to use $900 million in public and private funding to modernize the State park system.
The plan is part of a multi-year commitment since 2011 to restore facilities, enhance visitor experience, update signage and create better access for tourists at parks across the State. The 2015-16 Executive Budget adds $110 million toward this initiative.
The NY Parks 2020 plan was unveiled by Commissioner Rose Harvey of the State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation at Saratoga Spa State Park, where the state has already directed more than $7 million to improve the National Historic Landmark. The investment is making possible a diverse range of projects at the Saratoga Spa State Park – including newly paved trails; restored picnic pavilions; improvements of the Victoria Pool complex; a new playground; a more sustainable upgrade of the Saratoga Performing Arts gateway and preservation of the historic Lincoln and Roosevelt Bathhouses.
This multi-year NY Parks 2020 plan is expected to modernize state parks by:
- Making comprehensive investments in the State’s most popular parks such as Saratoga Spa, Niagara Falls and Jones Beach;
- Targeting investments to projects that promote outdoor recreation;
- Ensuring people from all walks of life have opportunities to connect with parks;
- Replacing neglected public use facilities and infrastructure;
- Preserving historic sites and cultural assets;
- Ensuring stewardship of some ecosystems, including making them more resilient to extreme weather; and
- Leveraging the tourism impact of State Parks to energize local economies.
The plan lays out the framework for how State Parks will achieve these seven strategic priorities, including:
- Build and improve new recreational facilities such as playgrounds, athletic fields and swimming facilities;
- Open underutilized parkland and reconnect children to the outdoors by building new nature centers;
- Modernize and refurbish campgrounds and cabins, bathhouses, contact stations and picnic pavilions;
- Preserve and improve historic buildings by repairing roofs and windows and restoring historic stonework;
- Undertake projects that prevent the invasive species, improve storm resiliency and implement energy efficiency initiatives that make state parks a model of sustainability; and
- Develop partnerships that enhance visitor services such as restaurants and cultural facilities and host more recreational and cultural events that promote New York’s tourism assets.
The NY Parks 2020 plan is available here.
In 2010, 25 of 36 historic sites were threatened with closure.