Poughkeepsie…Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus, in conjunction with the Republican legislative caucus, has forwarded a revised Parks Upgrade Plan to the Dutchess County Legislature for approval at the August board meeting. The new plan is $3 million less than originally proposed, but will still provide for improvements at Quiet Cove Riverfront Park, Bowdoin Park and Wilcox Park in addition to the Dutchess Rail Trail extension link.
“This compromise plan still enables us to address key park priorities for the families of Dutchess County,” said County Executive Steinhaus “while addressing concerns about the current economic climate.”
The revised Parks Plan is a downsized, scaled back plan of the original Comprehensive Parks Upgrade Plan first submitted last May. In July, the Democratic Majority amended the bond to only include the Dutchess Rail Trail extension that would connect to the Walkway Over the Hudson. The $4.5 million Master Plan for Quiet Cove Riverfront Park, north of Marist College in the Town of Poughkeepsie and over $960,000 in improvements to Bowdoin Park, off Sheafe Road in the Town of Poughkeepsie and Wilcox Park in the Town of Milan all failed to receive support from Legislative Democrats.
The revised plan features a new, phased, multi-year implementation of the Quiet Cove Riverfront Park Master Plan, reducing the cost by $3 million from the original implementation schedule. The downsized master plan provides for basic waterfront redevelopment and upgrades to make Quiet Cove more usable for residents and provide the river access and waterfront use originally intended. This plan will also allow the County to fulfill the commitments and obligations for the park’s development in order to honor the contractual partnership with New York State.
The initial phase of this downsized, multi-year approach for Quiet Cove will include:
- Critical underground utility and infrastructure needs
- Restrooms and observation deck
- Waterfront promenade and floating dock for kayaking
- Necessary repairs to prevent serious deterioration of the facilities
- Riverfront level grading and landscaping to make the shore accessible
- Parking lot improvements and other public safety considerations
Originally planned improvements to the upper portion of Quiet Cove Park (closer to Route 9), shoreline improvements as well as the significant work to the buildings and facilities done in future phases which will be pushed out to a later timeframe.
“Everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, agrees that Quiet Cove Riverfront Park can truly be a jewel and gem for Dutchess County,” said County Executive Steinhaus. “This new plan allows residents to really take advantage of this unique waterfront right on the Hudson River by providing important safety improvements, better parking and the ability to utilize its spectacular location.”
The revised parks plan includes the capital improvements for a variety of park buildings located at Bowdoin Park in the Town of Poughkeepsie and Wilcox Park in the Town of Milan. The plan also includes replacement and upgrading of playgrounds and improvements to the Nature Study Pavilion at Bowdoin Park. Both Bowdoin and Wilcox Parks are experiencing increased facility booking and these improvements will ensure the buildings can meet the long term needs of residents. Several pieces of playground equipment have been removed or roped off at Bowdoin Park for safety reasons, necessitating the urgency of its replacement.
Legislators will have the opportunity to see first hand the improvements and repairs planned for both Quiet Cove and Bowdoin Parks during site tours that are scheduled prior to the August legislative committee meetings. These site tours will provide yet another opportunity for legislators to have professional staff answer any questions they may have since hearing the formal presentations in June.
“We are encouraged by the administration’s willingness to work with us to develop a new, less expensive, compromised plan that provides our residents with the quality of life they deserve, while balancing the fiscal restraint the current economic climate calls for,” said Dutchess County Legislator Gary Cooper. “This plan has the support of the Republican caucus as it provides park improvements at sites across Dutchess County, not just to one site in the City of Poughkeepsie.”
County Executive Steinhaus has forwarded the revised bond resolution totaling $6.9 million for final approval at the August board meeting. The amended bond resolution that featured only the DRT extension was returned unsigned because of flaws in the resolution including lack of budget amendments, mathematical errors and lack of review by bond counsel. The County Executive has urged the Legislature for immediate approval, no later than the August board meeting, so that the complicated legal process of the CSX condemnation and land acquisition can begin in order to meet the scheduled time line to coordinate the DRT extension completion with the planned opening of the Walkway Over the Hudson.
“We hear more and more about the popularity of “staycations” as the price of gasoline rises and families look to save money by staying close to home. Making these important park improvements provides residents with a variety of great recreational options, right here in Dutchess County,” concluded County Executive Steinhaus.