A $9.3 million construction project has begun on a new Visitor Center, improved parking, and enhanced exhibits at Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park in Suffolk County on Long Island.
Plans call for the multi-phase construction project to be completed by the fall of 2024. The slated work includes a new 1,600 square-foot Visitor Center to educate visitors about the Cutting family and their historic 60-room, Tudor-style mansion, the landscaped grounds with wide variety of trees, shrubs and plants, and the impact of ongoing climate change on Long Island.
Also to be built are 248 new, paved and standard-width parking spaces to replace the current array of undersized parking spaces. Electrical service at the mansion is also being upgraded.
The $9.3 million dollar project has been funded by several partners including a $1.5 million donation from the Bayard Cutting Board of Trustees through the Natural Heritage Trust, as well as grants from New York Works ($4.8 million), federal Land and Water Conservation Fund ($2.3 million) and state Environmental Protection Fund ($750,000).
Sustainability efforts include a photo-voltaic 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 storm water drainage and water quality.
The park will remain open during construction. An interactive app/website is also being developed to orient visitors to the arboretum and learn about specific trees and gardens located there.
Designed by MBB Architects, the new Visitor Center will be a glass pavilion to house exhibits at the entrance to the 19,000 square-foot mansion and grounds. Exhibits will highlight the trees and plants that make up the arboretum, the science of tree growth, the history of the property, and steps being taken there currently to respond to human-induced climate change. General contractor on the project will be G&M Earth Movers, with Central Air Corp as the Mechanical contractor, Roland’s Electric Inc. as electric contractor and KG Mechanical Inc. as plumbing contractor. Construction management will be performed by The LiRo Group.
More than 471,000 people visited the arboretum in 2021, an annual record and an increase of nearly 90 percent since 2015. Since 2003, more than 4.4 million people have visited the 691-acre park situated on the picturesque Connetquot River.
The estate mansion is maintained in its original style with furnishings typical of the estate era. Guided tours of the mansion, which was recently used during filming of HBO Max’s The Gilded Age, are available seasonally. The park also features an array of hiking trails that are open year-round. The arboretum grounds were designed for original owner William Bayard Cutting, a wealthy attorney, financier, real estate developer, sugar beet refiner, and philanthropist, by Frederick Law Olmsted, who had earlier designed Central Park in New York City and what was to become Niagara Falls State Park.
The park has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973 as a historic district.
Photo: rendering of Bayard Cutting Arboretum provided.
Landscaping By G. Pellegrino says
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