Poughkeepsie…Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus convened the first organizational workgroup meeting to discuss plans for Dutchess County’s role in the 400th Anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the Hudson River to be celebrated in 2009 – also known as the Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial.
“The Quadricentennial is a very special opportunity to spotlight Dutchess County to the rest of the world,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “There are a lot of great ideas and plans already in the works and still more to be formulated. Our goal is to make sure everyone is working together to showcase Dutchess County and the Hudson River Valley to the best possible advantage.”
The Quadricentennial celebration is anticipated to have an enormous regional impact with tremendous exposure from national and international media. The expected influx of tourists for the various events and activities is expected to be a major economic boost to Dutchess County.
County Executive Steinhaus has earmarked $100,000 in the 2008 budget for the promotion and development of the 2009 Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial. “This is an investment that will have an exponential rate of return. Visitors from all over the world will be coming to join this celebration, thousands of boats may sail up the Hudson River. This will truly be an event of a lifetime and Dutchess County will be ready,” said Steinhaus.
The goal of the meeting was to assemble a strong work team in order to get a firm understanding of what is already in the works and define what the actionable steps will be going forward to help accelerate the planning process. “We have a good foundation with a well-defined outline. Our next steps will be to mature our workgroup and expand it to include participation from other key stakeholders,” said County Executive Steinhaus.
Today’s meeting included representatives from the Hudson River Valley Institute at Marist College, Dutchess County Tourism, Dutchess County Planning & Development, Dutchess County Historian and the Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency (DCIDA). The next step is to expand the workgroup to include representatives from Dutchess County Arts Council, Walkway over the Hudson, the Cities of Beacon and Poughkeepsie, MetroNorth and other stakeholder groups.
Michael Tomkovitch, Chairman of Dutchess County Industrial Development Agency said, “This is a generational event, a multi-generational event actually. We need to think big and create something to be remembered for years to come.”
Several plans and activities are already in the works. Dutchess County Government, in partnership with the Hudson River Valley Institute will sponsor lectures, conferences and exhibits celebrating the achievements of Hudson River Valley explorers and the legacies they have left behind.
Dutchess County will also host a tourism conference this spring, The conference will feature workshops to help local tourism destinations focus on marketing the Quadricentennial, develop sponsorship and partnership opportunities and learn how to take advantage of grant opportunities. Dutchess County Tourism Director Mary Kay Vrba said, “We want to make sure the tourism destinations in our county, many of which are operated by small business owners, are able to take full advantage of this once in a century opportunity. This conference will help them maximize the exposure this event is certain to bring to Dutchess County.”
Plans and ideas for the actual celebration include school and community projects, art exhibits, river parades and more. One of the goals discussed at the meeting and embraced by County Executive Steinhaus is to develop a workplan for “legacy projects” – events or projects that will have an effect for years to come. “The Quadricentennial is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our past, but it is also a great opportunity to add something special to our future,” concluded Steinhaus.