Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus invites the public to participate in a public workshop for the Harlem Valley Rail Trail (HVRT) Phase IV extension to be held at 7 pm, Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at the Webutuck High School.
“This workshop is a chance for the county to provide the public with information about the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Phase IV extension we are planning, but more importantly to gather ideas from local residents and rail trail enthusiasts,” stated County Executive Steinhaus. “Phase IV of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail will complete a key link in the Rail Trail between Millerton and Ancram. This area is rich in wildlife and wetland resources and we look forward to designing a trail that is sensitive to those assets while creating a terrific experience for trail users.”
County Executive Steinhaus has developed a Comprehensive County Government Parks Plan as part of his “Dutchess Goes Green” agenda that he outlined in his 2007 State of the County address. The Phase IV extension of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail is a significant component of the Parks Plan.
HVRT Phase IV is part of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail and is located in northeastern Dutchess County and southeastern Columbia County and spans approximately 8 miles. HVRT Phase IV originates at Main Street (Route 44) in the Village of Millerton, follows the former Harlem Valley Rail Line right-of-way in the Town of Northeast, and ends at Under Mountain Road in the Town of Ancram, Columbia County. When complete, the entire continuous Harlem Valley Rail Trail will span 23 miles from the Wassaic Train Station in Amenia to the Taconic State Park entrance, Copake Falls in Columbia County. The work will include placement of a shared-use path within the former railroad right-of-way currently leased by Dutchess County from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (NYSOPRHP).
Preliminary total project costs are estimated at approximately $3.5 million. The county will secure 80% federal funding for the trail extension to offset the cost to the county parks budget. Dutchess County will pay for the local share of work within the county. Columbia County and the NYSOPRHP have agreed to fund the local share of the Columbia County portion of the project.
“We are grateful to Dutchess County Executive Steinhaus for taking the lead in getting this project going. Phase IV of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail will link Dutchess and Columbia counties and provide a complete 23 mile rail trail for all residents to enjoy,” said Columbia County Commissioner of Public Works David Robinson, P.E.
Engineering staff from the County’s Public Works Department along with Clough Harbour & Associates will be facilitating the workshop to gather community input which will help with general design as well as in finalizing the types and locations of parking areas, access points, and outdoor educational classrooms. There will also be discussion about trail amenities, widths and surfaces, and potential uses.
“I believe public outreach workshops such as these to be invaluable opportunities to get information and productive feedback from local residents to help make the final design the best that it can be. We would like our residents to take an active role in the design since we want them to use the trail to connect with friends, family and neighbors for years to come,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.