Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Legislative Chairman Bradford H. Kendall announce final approval of the state’s plans for expenditure of the County’s contribution of $750,000 to the Rivers and Estuaries Center, to be located at Dennings Point in Beacon.
“The Rivers and Estuaries Center promises to be a terrific economic investment for the County and the Hudson Valley,” noted County Executive Steinhaus. “I am excited this major initiative is now becoming a reality.” Eventually the Center is projected to employ up to 500 scientists, with a $50 million annual budget.
County Executive Steinhaus charged county Planning and Development staff, led by Commissioner Roger Akeley, with the preparation of the successful application to the State for the Beacon Rivers and Estuaries site. The Dennings Point location was ultimately selected by a Governor-appointed committee from a field of 21 applications within the Hudson Valley. The Dyson Foundation donation of $5,000,000 and the Dutchess County contribution initiated by Chairman Kendall in his 2001 Address to the Legislature, of $750,000 provided added incentive for a Dutchess County location. The county funds are available in a Dutchess County reserve fund which was established in 2001.
“I am glad that our contribution will be so useful in the Phase I stage of the Center’s development,” said Chairman Kendall. “Even more importantly, the County’s money has been used to leverage an equal amount from the New York Power Authority.” Phase I involves rehabilitation of Building One on the old brickyard at Dennings Point. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also contributing to the Phase I construction program.
John Cronin, Managing Director of the Rivers and Estuaries program for Governor Pataki, said, “The Rivers and Estuaries Center’s first construction project was inspired and made possible by Dutchess County’s vision of a start-up facility on Denning’s Point that would be of educational and scientific service to the County and the region. The County’s $750,000 pledge was the all-important first funding that inspired other agencies to step forward and make their own commitments. This is just the type of partnership Governor Pataki envisioned when he called upon diverse interests to make the Hudson River a global center of research, learning and knowledge.”
The Rivers and Estuaries program has already opened an office on Beacon’s Main Street. Mayor Clara Lou Gould has recognized the value of the Center’s presence in Beacon and says the expansion plans will enable Beacon to “once again have a working waterfront.”
“With plans for Metro-North expansion, the ferry service to Newburgh, better access to Bannerman’s Island and Scenic Hudson’s hotel development on Long Dock, Beacon is gaining more and more attention as a welcome center for people who approach Dutchess County from the south, and Dutchess County’s stature as the Hub of the Hudson Valley is further strengthened,” concluded Mr. Steinhaus.