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For immediate release: September 12, 2016
Contact: Craig Smith
Phone: 518-402-3130

$2.5 Million Announced to Improve 13 Playgrounds at State Parks Across New York State

State Parks to Modernize 100 Playgrounds by 2020

New York has committed $2.5 million to build or improve 13 playgrounds at 11 state parks across New York. The park improvements are part of the Governor’s goal to modernize 100 state park playgrounds by 2020 and build on the Connect Kids to Parks program to draw more youth to the outdoors.

“Playgrounds are important gateways to nature for many children that can lead to a life-long appreciation of New York's majestic natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities at our great state parks,” the Governor said. “These improvements are part of the extensive upgrades we are making at parks across the state and will help connect the next generation of New Yorkers to the great outdoors.”

“More than just places to have fun, playgrounds help children build their strength and self-confidence,” said NYS Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. “I’m grateful to the Governor for his efforts to draw more young people to the great outdoors, and investing in modern recreational facilities they need.”

Under the initiative, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will replace outdated playgrounds at the parks with modern, code-compliant equipment and distinct areas for young and older age groups. 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.

Central New York

Cayuga Lake State Park – replace outdated wood play equipment at the park’s lakefront with distinct playground equipment for younger and older children, offering more innovative play opportunities for children enjoying the swim and picnic areas at the park.

Finger Lakes

Letchworth State Park – replace and expand three outdated playgrounds in the park’s parade grounds, lower falls and tea table areas.

Western New York

Whirlpool State Park – expand the existing playground area in this popular community-oriented park.

DeVeaux Woods State Park – replace the existing outdated playground near the picnic shelter and parking area with a new playground with two equipment areas; one for ages 2-5 and one for ages 5-12 to complement the park’s newly completed overlook and spectacular views.

Reservoir State Park – establish a fitness equipment circuit just east of the tennis court to complement the athletic-themed park that includes softball diamonds, courts for multiple sports, skating rink, driving range and a 1.2 mile walking/jogging trail.

Capital Region

Grafton Lakes State Park – expand and enhance the existing playground adjacent to the new Welcome Center, featuring nature-based play elements and a miniature fire tower.

Thacher State Park – construct a new playground for older children to be located adjacent to the new Visitor Center, featuring an embankment slide, climbing wall on building, a crawl tunnel and a rocks and ropes area. All elements are intended to blend in with the existing features of the park.

Lake Taghkanic State Park – expand the existing playground at the south end of the beach parking lot, as well as add a pathway to improve pedestrian connections from the beach, new accessible parking spots nearby and more shade at the playground.

Mid-Hudson Region

James Baird State Park – replace the existing outdated playground with play equipment and interpretive panels highlighting the species of turtles of the Hudson Valley and New York State.

Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park – construct a new playground at Parking Lot 6, one of the most popular picnic areas in the park.

North Country

Eel Weir State Park – replace outdated playground equipment next to the existing pavilion with a new playground that will include climbing structures, slides, spring toys and swings. The project will include a new concrete walkway with benches around the play area.

Construction will take place following the peak summer season. The playgrounds are expected to be ready for use next summer.

The playgrounds are funded by the NY Parks 2020 state park revitalization plan, which includes a commitment to add or improve 100 playgrounds by 2020. Since 2011, the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has built or improved 72 playgrounds as part of the Governor’s historic commitment to improving parks and expanding access to outdoor recreation.
The NY Parks 2020 program is a multi-year commitment to leverage $900 million in private and public funding for NY State Parks from 2011 to 2020. The current state budget allocates $90 million toward this initiative.

In addition, this year the governor announced the Connect Kids to Parks program, which provides free day-use park entry to fourth-grade students and their families, and creates a new transportation grant program to help students from underserved schools visit state parks and historic sites.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 65 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit