Plan to revamp Hempstead Lake State Park irks residents, businesses

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WEST HEMPSTEAD -

A proposed $34.5 million renovation of Hempstead Lake State Park is concerning residents and businesses owners who say it would negatively impact the area.  

The New York State Parks Department recently discussed restoring the 521-acre park's northwest and northeast ponds and creating new areas to treat stormwater runoff and collect pollutants. 

The work would include the loss of 2.4 acres of trees and a widening of the park's trails. 

It would also make current bridle and hiking paths into multipurpose trails that could be used by cyclists. Alex Jacobson, owner and founder of the New York Equestrian Center at the park, says horses and cyclists do not mix well together. 

He says if a horse were to get spooked while children were on a path, it could be the "source of a disaster." 

The proposal also calls for putting a new entrance to the park near Hempstead High School in a wooded area. Some residents told News 12 that it will be "more trouble than it's worth" – anticipating students using the area as a hangout. 

State parks officials say their utmost priority is the safety of visitors and that they have a full-time police station on the premises. The design phase for the project should be completed this fall.

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