NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — World-famous Jones Beach State Park is about to get a major face-lift.
The state will spend $65 million over five years on the project, WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported. The famed state park, which has 6.5 miles of white-sand beach on the Atlantic Ocean and 2,400 acres of maritime environment, was badly damaged by Sandy.
The project is slated to restore historic districts that have deteriorated or been altered while making the park more vibrant and appealing to future generations, CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported.
The Pitch and Putt golf course will be replaced with zip lines, rock-climbing walls and water spray mats. Picnic areas, open space for yoga, tai chi, lacrosse and soccer will be added where Donald Trump once planned to build a restaurant. The Central Mall will be refurbished with gardens and fountains.
The snack bar will revive its historic roof terrace seating with a food marketplace below. New restaurants will be built, and some portable food vendors will be allowed on the boardwalk.
“It’s great for Jones Beach,” said beachgoer Ted Barnes. “I think great for Long Island. It’s been a long time coming.”
“Sandy took a lot from us out here, and it would be nice to see some money coming back here,” added Nick Pompanio, another beach patron. “It’s a really beautiful beach.”
In a statement, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that the restoration will help grow the state tourism industry and create about 620 construction jobs.
According to state data, attendance at Jones Beach dipped to about 2.8 million people in 2013, down from about 3.4 million in 2012.
The restoration plan comes as the iconic fun spot celebrates its 85th anniversary this year.
“It’s always essential that you find a place for the past in anything that you do moving forward, especially with a site like Jones Beach,” said Alexandra Wolfe of the
Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, which has been lobbying for capital investments since bath houses began going downhill a decade ago.
Some beachgoers who like the rehab, however, don’t like the idea of modernizing the state park.
“Water park and zip line — that’s a little too commercial,” said Maryanne Palecek. “Jones Beach is for the nature.”
Patricia Friedman’s civic group wants more say in the renovations.
“We want our voices to be heard,” she said.
George Gorman, a spokesman for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, said a public meeting will be held to discuss the plans for Jones Beach and to seek the public’s input.
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