Bethpage State Park is slated to receive playground improvements under a plan announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Wednesday.
Bethpage is one of 10 state parks across Long Island that will receive the improvements and will be funded with $1.35 million of Cuomo's "New York Works initiative."
At Bethpage, the existing playground near the picnic area will create a “woodland nature” theme, including ladybug, bee and mushroom play structures.
“It is important that children have a safe and engaging place to play, and these New York Works projects will give them just that in state parks across New York,” Cuomo said. “The numbers tell the story of more and more people visiting the parks, and I encourage everyone to visit these new and improved areas inside the state parks as well as the beauty that New York has to offer.”
The new playground equipment at the 10 Long Island parks will be accessible to people with disabilities and have distinct areas for younger and older age groups. Each playground will be designed with themes reflecting characteristics of the park.
Playground improvements will be coupled with site improvements, including shade trees or canopies, seating, water fountains and trail/walkway connections to the rest of the park.
Other Long Island state parks to see the improvements nearby include Brentwood State Park, Belmont Lake State Park, Heckscher State Park, Hempstead Lake State Park, and several on the East End.
The playground improvements enjoy bipartisan support:
Sen. Kemp Hannon, R-Garden City, said the governor's initiative is creating jobs and economic development across the state and will bring much-needed improvements to two of the playgrounds in his district.
"It will create a ‘woodland nature’ theme, incorporating several new play structures on the existing playground at Bethpage," Hannon said, "and a ‘carousel’ theme will be created at Hempstead Lake, with a colorful playground and benches arranged in a circle, mimicking the nearby carousel."
“The upgrade to this playground is a welcome improvement to Bethpage State Park that will be enjoyed by many children and families,” said Assemblyman Charles Lavine, D-Glen Cove. “This project is the perfect example of how Governor Cuomo’s successful New York Works initiative is working not only to better our state, but our individual communities as well.”
Construction of the playgrounds is expected to take place in the off-season, with playgrounds ready for use by next spring, state officials said..
State Parks plans to fix, modernize, or create more than 50 playgrounds, particularly in those parks with high visitation by families and their children. The New York Works initiative is creating 20 new or improved playgrounds in the next year.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 178 state parks and 35 historic sites. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com.