Upgrades Include New Visitor Center, Improved Parking, and Enhanced Exhibits
Site is One of Last remaining 19th Century Great Estates on the South Shore of Long Island
View Project Renderings Here
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the start of a $9.3 million construction project for a new Visitor Center, improved parking, and enhanced exhibits at Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park in Suffolk County.
"Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park has been attracting visitors for decades and is a shining example of the great estates on the South Shore of Long Island during the 19th century," Governor Hochul said. "These improvements will make a visit to this historic site an even more enriching and enjoyable experience, and will ensure it is enjoyed by generations of New Yorkers."
Plans call for the multi-phase construction project to be completed by the fall of 2024. Work will include a new 1,600 square-foot Visitor Center to educate visitors about the Cutting family and their historic 60-room, Tudor-style mansion, the landscaped grounds with wide variety of trees, shrubs and plants, and the impact of ongoing climate change on Long Island.
Also to be built are 248 new, paved and standard-width parking spaces to replace the current array of undersized parking spaces. Electrical service at the mansion will also be upgraded.
The $9.3 million dollar project has been funded by several partners including a $1.5 million donation from the Bayard Cutting Board of Trustees through the Natural Heritage Trust, as well as grants from New York Works ($4.8 million), federal Land and Water Conservation Fund ($2.3 million) and state Environmental Protection Fund ($750,000).
State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The generous support from the Bayard Cutting trustees, combined with funding from the state, represents the kind of public/private partnerships that are so valuable to State Parks and the Natural Heritage Trust. These improvements are going to make a visit to this special place, which set an attendance record in 2021, even better."
Scott Wise, Chair of the Bayard Cutting Trustees, said, "It's been many years of thoughtful preparation between the State and the Trust and we are delighted to participate in this spectacular upgrade to the Arboretum."
State Senator Alexis Weik said, "The Bayard Cutting Arboretum State Park is a gem to Long Island and our communities. The park is enjoyed by many, including my family and I, and with its historic and rich history, I am thrilled it is receiving the upgrades it needs and deserves."
Assemblyman Jarett Gandolfo said, "This investment in the Arboretum will not only make the visitor experience even better, but will also help preserve a vital piece of Long Island's history for future generations to enjoy."
Sustainability efforts include a photo-voltaic solar power array on the Visitor Center's roof, LED parking lot lighting, electric vehicle charging stations and pervious asphalt paving in the parking lots that will improve storm water drainage and water quality.
The park will remain open during construction. An interactive app/website is also being developed to orient visitors to the arboretum and learn about specific trees and gardens located there.
Designed by MBB Architects, the new Visitor Center will be a glass pavilion to house exhibits at the entrance to the 19,000 square-foot mansion and grounds. Exhibits will highlight the trees and plants that make up the arboretum, the science of tree growth, the history of the property, and steps being taken there currently to respond to human-induced climate change. General contractor on the project will be G&M Earth Movers, with Central Air Corp as the Mechanical contractor, Roland's Electric Inc. as electric contractor and KG Mechanical Inc. as plumbing contractor. Construction management will be performed by The LiRo Group.
More than 471,000 people visited the arboretum in 2021, an annual record and an increase of nearly 90 percent since 2015. Since 2003, more than 4.4 million people have visited the 691-acre park situated on the picturesque Connetquot River.
The estate mansion is maintained in its original style with furnishings typical of the estate era. Guided tours of the mansion, which was recently used during filming of HBO Max's The Gilded Age, are available seasonally. The park also features an array of hiking trails that are open year-round. The arboretum grounds were designed for original owner William Bayard Cutting, a wealthy attorney, financier, real estate developer, sugar beet refiner, and philanthropist, by Frederick Law Olmsted, who had earlier designed Central Park in New York City and what was to become Niagara Falls State Park.
The park has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973 as a historic district.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which are visited by a record 78 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram and Twitter.
The Natural Heritage Trust is a non-profit, public-benefit corporation with the mission to receive and administer gifts, grants and contributions to further public programs for parks, recreation, cultural, land and water conservation and historic preservation purposes of the State of New York. The NHT accomplishes its mission by accepting donations, raising funds, and through cooperative programs and projects with its agency partners: New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Department of State (DOS). For more information visit www.naturalheritagetrust.org
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