Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has advanced the Final Phase funding authorization for the 20% local funding requirement for the Harlem Valley Rail Trail (HVRT). A federal grant through the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) will provide the county 80% of the $250,000 needed to fund the design of this final Dutchess County segment of the trail.
According to County Executive Steinhaus, “With the approval of this resolution and the subsequent authorization of the Master Agreement with DOT, the County can officially begin designing the extension of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail for the remaining seven miles of abandoned railbed in Dutchess County.”
The County Executive added, “Ever since we opened the first 4.5 miles of trail in 1996, the popularity of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail has surpassed all expectations. This project will complete over 18 miles of paved trail in Dutchess County, extending from the MetroNorth Wassaic Train Station to the Columbia County border.”
The 22-mile corridor was originally purchased through a joint Dutchess County/New York State Parks initiative funded through a State Environmental Quality Bond Act (EQBA) grant in 1989. Phase 1 ran from Mechanic Street in the Town of Amenia to Coleman Station in the Town of Northeast. Phase 2, completed in 2000 continued north another 3.5 miles linking Coleman Station to the Village of Millerton. Phase 3, opened in 2005 extended the trail south, 2.5 miles from Amenia to Metro North Wassaic Train Station.
The County is also very close to agreement with the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation and Columbia County to extend this project and complete the trail to the Copake Falls Area of the Taconic State Park.
“Dutchess County is making significant investments in trails throughout the County,” said Executive Steinhaus. “Our linear parks will be the spine of the county wide trail network we are creating. The Dutchess Railtrail, following the old Maybrook railbed combined with the HVRT, and the Hudson River Greenway Trail will provide a unique opportunity to experience the scenic beauty of Dutchess County to residents and visitors alike,” he concluded.