Poughkeepsie… At Quiet Cove Riverfront Park in the Town of Poughkeepsie this morning, Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus unveiled the $9.9 million Comprehensive Parks Upgrade Plan for the continued enhancement of residents’ quality of life through improvements to Dutchess County Parks.
“Making smart investments in our County Parks System pays huge dividends in the quality of life for our community’s families,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “When we provide new recreational opportunities, we create positive long term effects including residents who are healthier and more fit because they are taking advantage of our beautiful parks and participating in more physical activities.”
The Comprehensive Parks Upgrade Plan includes three main components:
• Linking the Dutchess Rail Trail to the Walkway Over the Hudson with the acquisition and development of abandoned CSX railroad property.
• Implementation of the Master Plan for Quiet Cove Riverfront Park.
• Facility improvements at Bowdoin Park in the Town of Poughkeepsie and Wilcox Park in the Town of Milan.
Link from Dutchess Rail Trail to Walkway Over the Hudson
Through the acquisition and development of a portion of abandoned CSX railroad property in the Town and City of Poughkeepsie, County Executive Steinhaus laid out his vision to link the Dutchess Rail Trail to the Walkway Over the Hudson pedestrian bridge to create a spectacular continuous link extending from East Fishkill all the way up to New Paltz.
The Dutchess Rail Trail (DRT) is the 12 mile multi-use linear county park and alternate transportation mode that will run through the middle of the County along the former Maybrook Rail corridor including the towns of Poughkeepsie, LaGrange, Wappinger and East Fishkill. Acquisition by the county of the CSX parcel will provide the final connecting portion from the DRT northerly trail head at Morgan Lake in the Town of Poughkeepsie with the Walkway Over the Hudson in the City of Poughkeepsie. The project would include thirteen (13’) wide paved surface, drainage improvements, fencing, parking, signage and other improvements.
Although very ambitious, the project will have an attempted completion target of October 2009 to coincide with the opening of the Walkway Over the Hudson and the 2009 Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration.
Total cost for the “DRT Extension” project including property acquisition, easements, design and construction is estimated to be $4.42 million.
Quiet Cove Riverfront Master Plan
Quiet Cove Riverfront Park is located on the banks of the Hudson River in the Town of Poughkeepsie, just north of Marist College. Dutchess County has had a cooperative agreement with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation since 2005 to develop, operate and maintain the 27 acre park. The agreement obligates Dutchess County to make site and facility improvements in recognition of NYS providing the former Hudson River Psychiatric Center property to the county at no cost. The Quiet Cove Master Plan was developed to enhance Quiet Cove’s scenic beauty and preserve its historic attributes.
Jayne McLaughlin, Regional Director for New York State Parks - Taconic Region said, “Quiet Cove Riverfront Park provides so many opportunities for people to come and enjoy. The project combines the two of the most important priorities for NYS Parks – preservation of beautiful open space and cooperative partnerships. It is truly a pleasure to partner with Dutchess County on this wonderful venture.”
Quiet Cove Riverfront Park is also expected to be a key location for celebration events held in connection with the 2009 Hudson-Fulton-Champlain Quadricentennial Celebration. Most of the improvements called for in the master plan are slated to be completed prior to the celebration.
To take advantage of Quiet Cove’s prime location on the Hudson River, the master plan calls for shoreline improvements and the development of three access points to the river. Two existing beach areas will be improved for canoe and kayak launching and a promenade with a boat dock will be constructed. The shoreline will be replaced with environmentally-sensitive “soft-edge” treatment including plantings and other techniques to prevent erosion. These shoreline improvements will help to improve the natural river edge habitat and will encourage fishing access.
The master plan also features upgrades to existing buildings on the site. The two-story, wooden structure, which has been declared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, will be renovated for community uses. A small brick building will be renovated into public bathrooms with an observation deck to enjoy spectacular views up and down the longest straight line stretch of the Hudson River. Other structures will be renovated to serve as a center for kayak/canoe storage and rentals and office and work space for park staff.
Other planned improvements to Quiet Cove include the development of a small amphitheatre on the river and landscape improvements to capitalize on the park’s natural scenic beauty, along with additional parking and other utility infrastructure improvements. The total estimated cost for the Quiet Cove Riverfront Park Master Plan is $4.5 million.
Bowdoin and Wilcox Parks Capital Improvements
Wilcox Park in the Town of Milan and Bowdoin Park in the Town of Poughkeepsie are popular destinations for residents hosting family gatherings and other social events. Event bookings at each park’s facilities are on the rise as more and more residents discover these great assets. Many existing park facilities are at capacity. At Bowdoin, all pavilions are fully booked until this fall with no remaining weekend availability this season. As part of County Executive Steinhaus’ Comprehensive Parks Upgrade Plan, several facilities will undergo roof replacements, window replacements and renovations to ensure the buildings are energy efficient and well maintained to serve the long term needs of county residents.
In addition, families are certain to enjoy the planned playground upgrades at Bowdoin Park including new playground equipment with safety surfacing and an additional water feature to join the trio of water spray turtles, one of the most popular features in the park.
Total cost for the capital improvements at Bowdoin and Wilcox Parks are estimated to be just under $960,000.
County Executive Steinhaus has forwarded a $9.9 million bond resolution to the Dutchess County Legislature to fund the Comprehensive Parks Upgrade Plan. The bond request has been submitted for discussion at the Legislature’s June board meeting and for approval at the July board meeting.
“Dutchess County Parks offer something for every resident to enjoy and experience. Our parks provide serenity, beauty and enjoyment to our residents. We are committed to maintaining and enhancing them for generations to enjoy,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.