Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus presented a progress report this morning on the design work for the Dutchess Rail Trail to Town Supervisor John Hickman and officials from the Town of East Fishkill. The Dutchess Rail Trail is the planned 11.8 mile multi-use linear county park that is a centerpiece of the County Executive’s Comprehensive Parks Expansion Plan. The new county park will run through the middle of the County along the former Maybrook Rail corridor and including the towns of East Fishkill, LaGrange, Poughkeepsie and Wappinger.
According to County Executive Steinhaus, “This meeting is an opportunity for us to share the milestones that have been achieved in the trail’s design with the Town of East Fishkill. It is a complicated design process and we are pushing an aggressive time schedule. Many of the issues have been resolved and we are very pleased with the design to date. We have made tremendous progress on this project and we want to keep that momentum strong.”
Representatives from the County Department of Public Works engineering design team accompanied the County Executive and provided an overview to Supervisor Hickman of the project’s status. Updated design elements for the rail trail park including access points, parking and road and stream crossings. The design incorporates much of the feedback that was received from the four community outreach sessions held in early 2006.
One such design element that has been incorporated based on community feedback is dual tread paths to accommodate bikers with a paved path and a crushed stone surface for runners and other users who prefer a non-asphalt surface. In addition, there will be one section of the 11.8 mile trail designated for equestrian use as requested during the community outreach sessions. Other topics discussed were public safety and law enforcement issues for the park as well as maintenance.
East Fishkill Town Supervisor John Hickman stated, “We are all stakeholders in this park. We are excited to see the great progress on this project and eagerly await the opening of this unique community asset.”
Final design approval from the New York Department of Transportation is expected this spring. Upon approval, construction for segments of the trail will begin immediately. Completion of the rail trail park is expected in 2008. However sections of the park are anticipated to be completed and open this year.
County Executive Steinhaus concluded, “The Dutchess Rail Trail is truly a community park and amenity with many local flavors. We appreciate the enthusiasm and support we have received from Supervisor Hickman, other local town officials and community residents. This rail trail park is all about connections; people to their recreational pursuits, residents to their workplace, the community to commercial establishments and local communities with the County.”
More information on Dutchess County Parks can be obtained at the Dutchess County government website –dutchessny.gov.