Expanding on its status as a landmark of the South Shore’s connection to the era of robber barons and American princesses, the Bayard Cutting Arboretum, in Great River (which, as of late, has …
Expanding on its status as a landmark of the South Shore’s connection to the era of robber barons and American princesses, the Bayard Cutting Arboretum, in Great River (which, as of late, has had crews from HBO’s “The Gilded Age” film on location), has received a $9.3 million construction project to enhance visitor experience at the community crown jewel.
The funding for the construction comes from 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).
Ringing in the New Year was the beginning of construction on the park for the added amenities, on the first working day of 2023, Tuesday, Jan. 3. It is expected to be completed in fall of 2024, according to Gov. Kathy Hochul, and to remain open throughout the construction phase.
At the center of this new construction is a 1,600-square-foot facility to provide background of the Cutting family and their 60-room Tudor-style mansion.
“After many years of planning and anticipation, the construction of our new parking lot and Visitor Center is beginning,” an arboretum spokesperson said in a statement posted on its website. “This project will greatly improve our aging infrastructure and revitalize our visitor experience.”
In 2021, the arboretum had nearly half a million visitors, and it is expected that the new parking lot and Visitor Center will help accommodate the increasing attendance, taking pressure off vulnerable areas like the Manor House.
Such measures would “ultimately preserve the historic integrity of the entire arboretum,” according to the online statement.
The new parking lot will be constructed of pervious asphalt, reducing rain runoff and helping to filter pollutants that contribute to the contamination of ground water.
With the additional spots, there will be 250 spaces in total, with an increased number of handicap spaces, electric vehicle charging stations, updated LED lighting, and pedestrian paths leading to the Visitor Center.
In the final phase of the project, the entire Main Drive leading to the Manor will be repaved.
Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects designed the new parking lot and landscaping, adding 100 new trees and shrubs and thousands of new perennial plants.
“[This will] compliment the existing design and plant palette, while introducing new taxa never before planted at the arboretum. We are extremely excited about the horticulture. It is rare that we have the opportunity to make this many plant introductions at once,” said a representative for the arboretum.
Described by the director as an “oasis of quiet and beauty,” the park acknowledges the construction may affect the noise level for visitors.
“We ask for your patience and support during the upcoming construction. There will be some disruptions to our normal operations,” said a representative for the arboretum.
It is anticipated that some of their regular, popular events held at the arboretum may need to be rescheduled. Until May of 2023, during the first phase of construction, parking will be limited to 100 spaces.
During the second phase of construction, May 2023 to spring 2024, parking will be limited to 150 spaces.
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