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Contractors finish work on improvement projects at two Jefferson County beaches

By Eric Reinhardt


The state recently announced the completion of improvements at Southwick Beach State Park and Westcott Beach State Park in Jefferson County. The work included a new bathhouse at Southwick Beach State Park. (PHOTO CREDIT: GOV. ANDREW CUOMO FLICKR)

Construction workers have recently wrapped up work on improvement projects at both Southwick Beach State Park and Westcott Beach State Park in Jefferson County. 

The projects are the “first major improvements to the popular beachfront parks in 50 years,” according to a release from the office Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

The upgrades at Southwick Beach feature a new bathhouse and concession building, along with restored dunes and new “green” parking lots that “enhance resiliency and protection of water quality,” Cuomo’s office said. 

The work at Westcott Beach included eight new “accessible” cottages, with kitchens and bathrooms. The cottages were built on a bluff with a “commanding view of the lake,” per the release. 

Southwick Beach work

Southwick Beach State Park has a 112-site campground and is the “busiest” day-use state park in the Thousand Islands region, drawing more than 1.1 million visitors during the last decade, per Cuomo’s office.

Funding for the project came from the NY Parks 2020 initiative and a $1 million grant from the Environmental Facilities Corporation.

The recently completed improvements include a new concession kitchen and camp store; a public-gathering space with outdoor fireplace, patio area, walkways and three rental pavilions; new showers, changing areas, and restroom space; laundry room for patron use; a games arcade; a new entrance drive and sidewalk/bike path connection to campsites; and a lifeguard and first-aid station. 

The project also included several features to protect the park’s natural resources, the state said. 

They include new parking lots that have storm-water systems, bio-retention ponds, and a combination of standard asphalt pavement, porous pavement, reinforced grass paver parking, and overflow grass parking, all of which help filter pollutants from stormwater runoff and protect Lake Ontario’s water quality. 

The restored and “enhanced” dunes will reduce erosion from high water events, as well as improve wildlife shoreline habitat. The dunes include a new wooden boardwalk and a day-use area with shade trees. 

Westcott Beach work

Located on Henderson Bay in Jefferson County, Westcott Beach includes a sandy beach, 168 campsites, a marina, and more than three miles of hiking trails. The $3.94 million project was funded through the NY Parks 2020 initiative.

The park’s new cottage colony will be open late May through Columbus Day each year. Each cottage has a master bedroom on the ground floor with a queen size bed, an additional bedroom on the ground floor with two twin beds and a loft area containing three twin beds. 

Living areas have a sofa, chairs, and a propane fireplace for heating during the spring and fall seasons. 

The kitchen, living room, and loft area provide views of Lake Ontario through a full glass wall facing the lake, per the release. Exterior amenities include a patio with four Adirondack chairs, an accessible picnic table, fire ring, and a grill for cooking. 

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