HAMDEN, CT (WFSB) - Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden will reopen on Friday after being closed for more than a year.

The park has been closed since May 15, 2018 because of severe storm damage.

Take a look at what it looked like here.

Gov. Ned Lamont and Department of Energy and Environmental Protection commissioner Katie Dykes announced the reopening on Thursday.

They said the park will open its gates to the public at 8 a.m. on June 14.

The cost of restoration work totaled $735,000, 75 percent of which is expected to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Lamont and Dykes said work to remove thousands of damaged trees and make the park safe for visitors was strenuous. Much of the work was done on the park's network of trails.

Final work on the "Tower Trail" was completed this week.

“I am pleased that this restoration work has been completed and we are again able to open this popular state park to our residents and visitors,” Lamont said. “I look forward in the coming weeks to getting out onto the trails at Sleeping Giant and seeing the restoration work first hand. I want to thank all of the DEEP staff, contractors, and most especially the Sleeping Giant Park Association and their volunteers whose generous work over these many months helped get us to this point.”

Dykes said she knows the reopening of the park will be welcome news to a lot of people.

“We are excited that the park is now ready to again welcome hikers to its many trails and vistas We are grateful to the Sleeping Giant Park Association, which rallied so many members of our community to come forward to speed the restoration efforts."

However, the work has not yet been completed.

This summer, DEEP said it will hold a series of public meetings to hear ideas about what changes or improvements can be made. It said the ideas will be used to further guide restoration efforts.

State residents don't have to pay to enter the park.

On Thursday, for those who love the state park, the pouring rain didn't dampen their spirits.

“Appropriate for a rainy day, its like the sun coming out from behind the clouds. We really are ecstatic, we’ve been counting the days," said Julie Hulten, a volunteer with the Sleeping Giant Park Association.

She said people will be amazed at the changes that have been made, from the picnic area and the pine forest, to the tower trail.

"A lot of damage, a lot of open spaces, a lot of new growth," she said.

On Thursday, crews were out trimming a few more branches.

“I’m happy about it, I’d rather welcome people to the park instead of telling them to get out, which I’ve been telling them for the last year," said Jill Scheibenpflug, Sleeping Giant Park supervisor.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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