JONES BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – An energy and nature center was unveiled Friday at Jones Beach, created to help educate the public about climate change.
Surprisingly, some conservationists aren’t celebrating.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reports, Jones Beach is known for fun in the sun. And now, education too. The new attraction at, down at the pristine west end, is the state-of-the-art Jones Beach Energy & Nature Center.
It’s hailed as a tool in the state’s carbon-free future: The building generates as much energy as it consumes.
“This center is about taking action, empowering every New Yorker to fight climate change at home,” said New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid.
It’s built on what was a crumbling parking lot, the concrete reused to secure the storm-resistant building and native plantings.
“We recycled 12 and a half acres of concrete and none of it is left at the site. All of it is under the building, under the landscaping,” said Eric Bunge, project designer with nARCHITECTS.
It’s surrounded by more than 200 acres of preserve, with viewing decks to take in the dunescape. Inside, exhibits to help make greener energy choices, and create better stewards of the planet.
But not everyone’s applauding the $30 million public-private partnership.
“They have destroyed the most beautiful, pristine beach that ever was. This was not needed,” said Linda Jurist. “It’s a waste of taxpayer money.”
A group of park users is suing, claiming it’s a misuse of public land, and makes nature less accessible.
“This is the loss of public facility and land that was very cherished and well used,” said Freeport resident Alena Waters.
The head of LIPA, which shared the project cost, says the lawsuit has no merit.
“We are certainly preserving nature here. The center was built over a parking lot,” Thomas Falcone said. “When you come here you will enjoy nature as it will be preserved forever.”
The center is now open to the public seven days a week, year-round. The lawsuit is still winding its way through the courts.
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