Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus presented his second progress briefing in two days on the design work for the Dutchess Rail Trail. Wednesday afternoon he was in LaGrange with Town Supervisor Jon Wagner and other officials from the town.
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, including the towns of East Fishkill, LaGrange, Poughkeepsie and Wappinger.
According to County Executive Steinhaus, “This meeting was an opportunity for me to share the design ideas for the trail section running through the Town of LaGrange. It is a challenging design process but the ideas and feedback from LaGrange have been very valuable. Our bold vision is progressing well and we are very pleased with the design that incorporates the land use planning principles important to LaGrange officials.”
Project staff from the County Department of Public Works engineering design team accompanied the County Executive and provided an overview to Supervisor Wagner who was accompanied by town staff from parks, highway, and planning. Updated design elements for the rail trail park includes access points, parking and road and stream crossings, plus anticipated trail bridges over NYS Rt. 55 as well as Titusville Road by Gold’s Gym. The design incorporates much of the feedback that was received from the community outreach meeting earlier in 2006 that was held in LaGrange Town Hall.
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. A portion of the LaGrange section of the 12 mile trail is tentatively designed to also include a segregated parallel surface for equestrian use -- that would be separated by a fence. This was requested during the community outreach sessions Steinhaus hosted in 2006. Other topics discussed were public safety, law enforcement issues and maintenance.
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 will be a spectacular park for LaGrange residents and especially user-friendly because of the trail connections to commercial and residential areas being planned in the LaGrange section. We appreciate the enthusiasm and support we have received from Supervisor Wagner and town board members. This rail trail park is all about families and the quality of life for our residents.”
More information on Dutchess County Parks can be obtained at the Dutchess County government website – dutchessny.gov.