Poughkeepsie... Wappinger Town Councilman William Beale will host a public forum about the Dutchess Rail Trail on Monday, July 23rd at 7pm at the Wappinger Town Hall in the Community Room. The Dutchess Rail Trail is the planned 12 mile multi-use linear county park that will run through the heart of Dutchess County from Poughkeepsie, through LaGrange and Wappinger, and into Hopewell Junction.
The Dutchess Rail Trail is a centerpiece of County Executive William R. Steinhaus’ Comprehensive County Government Parks Plan. The County Executive views the Parks Plan as a significant component of the “Dutchess Goes Green” agenda he outlined in his 2007 State of the County address. The Dutchess Rail Trail will provide a non-vehicular (pedestrian and bicycle) route through the most densely populated and fastest growing section of Dutchess County. County Executive Steinhaus said, “This trail will provide residents the option of bicycling to the local shop on a weekend to enjoy a cup of coffee versus getting in their car and driving there. They can choose to ride to work when the weather is pleasant.”
The Executive continued, “Two of our highest priorities in Dutchess County have been combating childhood obesity and doing more to protect the environment with our “Dutchess Goes Green” agenda. The Dutchess Rail Trail will offer a great way to keep our families physically fit as well as offer an alternative to driving, helping to prevent automobile emission pollution and protecting our environment.”
Councilman Beale stated, “When County Executive Steinhaus and the County design team came to Wappinger Town Hall on February 15th, 2006, over 100 Wappinger residents came out to discuss the early planning of the rail trail project. I am happy to be able to bring County Executive Steinhaus and his team back for the follow-up the County Executive promised at our earlier meeting. I know our local residents are eager for the chance to hear the latest details about the Dutchess Rail Trail – a trail that will literally be in our backyards.” The presentation and discussion will include the overall design of the trail, parking areas and access points, trail amenities, widths & surfaces, outdoor education classrooms and other potential uses.
The trail’s preliminary design is complete and is with the New York State Department of Transportation for its review and approval. If approval and the funding components proceed as planned, sections of the trail are anticipated to be constructed this year.
“Resident feedback and input have been our most important component as we move through the process of making the Dutchess Rail Trail a reality. This forum is our way of reaching out to share what is happening with this exciting project, but is also a chance for residents to help shape the creation of our newest park for future generations to enjoy,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.