ALEXANDRIA BAY Although the busy summer season for the Thousand Islands Region of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation is coming to a close, work is hardly slowing down.
Regional Director Kevin A. Kieff said the typical annual budget for improvements to the areas parks is $750,000, but a recent $3.2 million boost from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomos NY Works initiative has resulted in several completed projects and many more that are planned.
Its keeping our engineering staff very busy, Mr. Kieff said.
NY Works aims to encourage economic development in the state by rebuilding infrastructure, which is happening throughout the 27 sites of the Thousand Islands Region, from southern Jefferson County to as far northeast as Plattsburgh, Essex County.
According to a governors news release, the regions NY Works funding is part of the initiatives $90 million commitment to advance 90 construction projects in more than 50 state parks and historic sites throughout the state. The state budget capital plan also called for investing $90 million annually in park improvements over the next five years.
A combination of funding has allowed many improvements to take place. In St. Lawrence County, at Higley Flow State Park, Colton, a new playground and a new toilet/shower building were installed, and finishing touches are being put on a year-round multiuse building. At Robert Moses State Park, Massena, and Jacques Cartier State Park, Morristown, new playgrounds are in place.
The same goes for Whetsone Gulf State Park, Lowville.
In Jefferson County, Wellesley Island State Park received a new toilet/shower building, and the regional office is about to break ground on a project that will repair very deteriorated roads and put in a new RV dump station, Mr. Kieff said.
While Burnham Point State Park, Cape Vincent, had upgrades to its sewer system, a short distance away at Grass Point State Park, town of Alexandria, ground will be broken soon on a new playground, and next year there will be a new beach/bathhouse building.
Keewaydin State Park, Alexandria, has a different project than other area parks, as its marina area will get a new toilet/shower building with a three-season pavilion on the second story. Its roadways also will be redone. Cedar Point State Park, town of Clayton, will get two new toilet/shower buildings.
At Kring Point State Park, Redwood, the boat launch will be revamped, and at Point au Roche State Park, Plattsburgh, there will be improvements to the boat mooring area. Also in Plattsburgh, the Macomb Reservation State Park will develop a dam rehabilitation plan.
Although the unofficial end of summer has come and gone, some area parks remain open through Oct. 14, Columbus Day. Although some parks are closed, the public can still visit them for shoulder season events and activities; they just dont have to pay the $6 to $8 to get into the park.
The shoulder seasons are popular for birding, walking and several parks are active in cross-country skiing and have access to lakes and rivers for ice fishing, Mr. Kieff said. We have a very busy season currently, and are planning for future years.
Mr. Kieff said that while May and June were off to a slow camping season, numbers picked up in July and August. Total revenue, he said, is down $97,000 from last season, and much of that is a result of inclement weather.