AYER — A long-awaited National Park Service $75,000 grant to guarantee Sandy Pond Beach will be restored has been received, announced former Economic and Community Development Director, now town administrator Shaun Suhoski.

Pushed through Congress with the help of state legislators, the money represents a fair portion of the estimated $187,990 project. Community Preservation Act money funds the remainder, and a grant request was written more than 18 months ago.

Low-bidder Heimlich Landscaping and Construction Corp., of Woburn, has been awarded the contract, said Suhoski, and work is scheduled to begin this spring.

“We got word from Cong. Marty Meehan’s office that the grant has been awarded,” Suhoski said. “It’s great news. Our legislators really helped.”

Scope of the Sandy Pond work includes constructing a new tot lot and play equipment, development of an adjacent family picnic area, creation of a beach volleyball court, re-orientation and improvement to the existing basketball court, and increased parking including handicapped spaces that are safer and more convenient to the park.

The program includes new plantings, lawns and less intrusive fencing for aesthetic and safety enhancements.

“Sandy Pond beach is a valuable asset to Ayer and the whole Merrimack Valley area,” Meehan said. “These funds are critical to ensuring (the pond) remains a clean and safe place for all to visit and enjoy.”

“It is essential that we provide family-friendly recreation for our citizens to enjoy for generations to come,” said Sen. Edward Kennedy.

“Sandy Pond beach is a place that brings people together, and with this funding Ayer can make the needed investments to preserve its beauty and resources,” Sen. John Kerry said.

Sandy Pond beach is a modest one-acre park with nearly 250 feet of waterfront. It is part of 28 acres held for recreation purposes by the Ayer Parks Commission.

Ayer funds municipal lifeguards during summer months, and offers swimming lessons for up to 140 participants. As funding allows, the beach has hosted arts and craft programming for up to 40 users, and skating parties during winter months.

The beach and a 485-foot strip of town-owned land along the westerly shore are popular fishing spots.

Beach improvements will enhance access to the 74-acre state-owned pond which is categorized as a Great Pond in the commonwealth’s records. Improvements will also create more parking within the park site, use currently fallow land, and enhance the water-based recreational experience for park users.