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New York State parks receiving long overdue funding

Ellen Abbott
Green Lakes State Park is one of many park across New York state that is receiving funding from the New York Park 2020 initiative in order to improve park facilities.

New York State is investing millions into the state park system with some high profile central New York parks jumping in on the funding.

As visitors head to state parks this summer, they’ll find some upgrades thanks to the New York Parks 2020 initiative that will pump a total of $900 million into the deteriorating park system by the year 2020. 

Visitors to Verona Beach and Green Lakes will already notice some changes. Beach goers in Verona, on Oneida Lake, will have access to a new beach house, while Green Lakes in Fayetteville bolsters a new bathroom as well as improvements to the deck overlooking the golf course.

Laura Tully, manager at Green Lakes, says they’ve been trying to hold the park together with duct tape and string for years.

"This is so overdue.  It’s nice to see [New York] finally putting some dollars into our parks,” Tully says.

The funds are headed to what Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey calls flagship parks; the busiest parks in the system, like Green Lakes. State taxpayers, however, aren’t the only ones on the hook for this.

"A lot of partnerships.  There’s federal money and private parties and we’re all matching each other and leveraging the 900 million,” Harvey says.

High tech improvements have also found their way into the improvement plans with unmanned entryways, which allow visitors to pay electronically, along with Wi-Fi being added to some of the flagship parks.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.