Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

May 22, 2008

Eileen Larrabee
Dan Keefe

Makeover in Store for Green Lakes Swimming Area

Green Lakes' $2.2 million overhaul moving ahead

Green Lakes State Park's popular swimming area is in store for a $2.2 million overhaul under a $132 million plan to jumpstart the revitalization of New York State parks and historic sites.

"With its unique lakes, miles of wooded trails, challenging golf course, playgrounds and ball fields, Green Lakes State Park provides an idyllic refuge to its urban neighbors," Governor David A. Paterson said. "We need to take care of cherished parks like Green Lakes, which are essential to livable cities and strong, diverse local economies. By revitalizing our state parks, we're also contributing to upstate's renewal."

"Generations of Central New York families have fond memories of excursions to Green Lakes State Park, where swimming in the emerald waters is a favorite activity," Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Carol Ash said. "We need to provide the proper stewardship for this treasured park, so future generations continue to look to Green Lakes as a place to take their families for fun and relaxation."

In April, Governor Paterson and the Legislature approved a state budget that advances a $132 million capital improvement spending plan for New York's 178 state parks and 35 historic sites – making it the single largest capital investment in the history of the state park system. The infusion will enable the state to begin addressing the extensive capital needs of the parks system – needs that have been estimated at approximately $650 million.

The initiative provides $1.5 million this year for the reconstruction of the 48-year-old bathhouse. Work is set to begin September 2, following Labor Day weekend. Natural lighting and ventilation are incorporated in the structure's design. Work will also begin on a new $700,000 drinking water distribution system later this summer.

A new site plan for the beach area will be designed this year to improve traffic flow and provide new walkways to upgrade access to the beach from other areas of the park, with construction expected next year.

Elsewhere in Central New York, State Parks has committed $300,000 to repair a damaged seawall at Verona Beach State Park and is advancing the design of several other projects, with construction anticipated next year. These include:

  • Selkirk Shores bathhouse ($100,000 budgeted for design this year);
  • Selkirk Shores water distribution system ($70,000 for design this year);
  • Pixley Falls bridge replacement ($50,000 for design this year).

"Green Lakes State Park is a wonderful place for individuals and families to relax and enjoy the outdoors by boating, fishing and swimming," said Senator John DeFrancisco. "I have been a strong supporter of our State parks, including Green Lakes, and I am pleased that additional improvements will be made this year to enhance the park. It is imperative that we continue to make investments in our State parks, which are essential to the quality of life in Central New York and also help to attract residents, tourists and businesses to our area."

"Our State Parks not only make New York a beautiful place to live, but play a critical role in the state's tourism industry," said Senator David J. Valesky. "Green Lakes is one of the area's most tranquil retreats with trails and swimming that have been an escape for Central New York families for decades. That is especially why I am so pleased to do what I can to help provide state support for parks like Green Lakes so that they can continue to be a great asset to the community."

"I am pleased that we are making this effort to protect the beautiful natural and recreational resources Green Lakes State Park offers," said Assemblywoman Joan Christensen. "As more people look for vacation opportunities close to home this summer, this project ensures that Green Lakes—a wonderful gem in our area—will be more attractive than ever."

"Our State Parks are one of our greatest resources. From Chittenango Falls to Glimmerglass to Green Lakes, they are outlets of recreation that draw people to their trails, their beaches and their history. This investment in the parks is going to go a long ways to restoring them, rejuvenating them and preserving them as one of the most important assets our state has," said Assemblyman Bill Magee.

"This state funding is integral to our efforts to revitalize Central New York's parks," said Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli. "The renovations at Green Lakes State Park will help provide endless recreational opportunities for all seasons to be enjoyed by both residents and tourists alike."

"Cultivating tourism is a key part of boosting Central New York's economy, and Green Lakes State Park is one of our tremendous natural and recreational resources," said Assemblyman Al Stirpe. "The planned renovations are a sure step toward ensuring more people will enjoy the activities Green Lakes has to offer."

"As the revitalization of our parks and historic sites gets underway, we ask our patrons to be patient with any inconveniences they may encounter," Ash said. "Please pardon our appearance, and remember it's temporary."

Each year, more than 55 million people visit New York State parks and historic sites, making them a key component of the tourism industry. A 2007 survey indicated that nearly 80 percent of park visitors participate in dining, shopping, or recreational activities outside the park during a park visit.

Green Lakes State Park, which draws 850,000 visitors annually, features two glacial lakes surrounded by forest, a campground, picnic areas, playgrounds and athletic fields. There are 17 miles of trails for hiking, biking and cross-country skiing. The park also boasts an 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation administers 178 parks and 35 state historic sites. For more information about state parks and historic sites in New York, please visit