Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus has announced a public informational meeting and public hearing for the soon to be constructed Dutchess Rail Trail to be held on Tuesday, March 20, 2007 from 7:00 P.M. to 9:30 P.M. at Van Wyck Junior High School in East Fishkill.
County Executive Steinhaus said, “Prior to the meeting, there will be an “Open House” at 6 P.M where the public can view aerial maps highlighting trail locations in each town that it runs through. There will also be displays of the trail surface.”
Development of a Comprehensive County Government Parks Plan is part of County Executive Steinhaus’ “Dutchess Goes Green” agenda which he outlined in his 2007 State of the County Address. The Dutchess Rail Trail will be an 11.8 mile multi-use linear park running through the middle of the County. The trail will be constructed on County owned property that is a former rail bed which extends from Morgan Lake in Poughkeepsie, through LaGrange and Wappinger to the Hamlet of Hopewell Junction in East Fishkill. The trail uses the same corridor as the recently completed Central Dutchess Water Pipeline.
“Over the past year, much work has been completed regarding the design of the rail trail park incorporating the ideas and solutions obtained from the local community during the four public workshops that we hosted last year,” stated the County Executive. “We’ve designed the trail to include a dual tread section through East Fishkill, Wappinger, and LaGrange, and a single tread section through Poughkeepsie. The dual tread section in LaGrange and a portion in Wappinger will accommodate equestrians, while the remaining section in East Fishkill will accommodate runners who prefer a softer surface. Trailheads will be provided in each of the four towns for parking and access,” continued Steinhaus. “Residents who participated at last year’s public workshops were asked to help us design a trail that will become one of the most desirable public space in the community. I truly believe our preliminary design achieves that goal.”
The public informational meeting will be at 7:00 P.M. and will include a presentation by Clough Harbour & Associates regarding the trail project’s history, preliminary design plans consisting of trail surfaces, road crossing treatments, the addition of recommended bicycle/pedestrian bridges at major highway crossings, and trailhead and access locations. Following the presentation, attendees will have an opportunity to provide comments regarding the rail trail to be documented for the public record.
Design of the Dutchess Rail Trail began in earnest, early in 2006, with the selection of Clough Harbour & Associates (CHA) as the design consultants. County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Public Works Commissioner Michael P. Murphy hosted four public workshop meetings (one in each of the four towns in which the trail is located) to introduce people to the Dutchess Rail Trail Park and discuss key issues. The safety of road crossings, potential access to neighborhoods and other points of interest, the types of users that should be accommodated and desired amenities for the trail, were the main topics of discussion for the approximately 425 people who attended the meetings.