Poughkeepsie… Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus and Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature Bradford Kendall officially named the County’s new riverfront park by unveiling the sign at Quiet Cove Riverfront Park today on US Route 9, in the town of Poughkeepsie. A cooperative agreement between Dutchess County and NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation was reached to begin developing and eventually operating the park on the riverfront portion of the former Hudson River Psychiatric Center property just north of Marist College.
“This is a very exciting historic announcement,” said Steinhaus. “All of us in Dutchess County are drawn to the Hudson River, one of our most beautiful and engaging resources. As a public park, these 27 acres of prime waterfront land will enable all of our residents, their families and friends, as well as visitors to Dutchess County, to enjoy the setting of ‘Quiet Cove’ for years to come.”
Chairman of the Dutchess County Legislature, Bradford Kendall stated, “This is a wonderful opportunity for Dutchess. Quiet Cove will offer residents of Dutchess as well as the many visitors who travel to the area, an opportunity to appreciate and enjoy this riverfront property, which contributes to the uniqueness of Dutchess County. Kendall also praised Governor Pataki for his efforts in preserving open space throughout New York State, calling it, “an investment in ensuring the State’s beauty and character.”
Quiet Cove Riverfront Park is part of the County Executive’s plan to enhance and recapture waterfront access in the river cities of Dutchess County. In addition, the County Executive will be submitting a bond resolution to the Legislature for their January meeting to allow the County to begin required studies, testing, engineering and preliminary site improvements at Quiet Cove. The bond request for a total of $735,000 includes enhancements for Bowdoin and Wilcox Parks as well. Through this funding, Bowdoin Park, Dutchess County’s existing Hudson Riverfront park will start construction of a multi-purpose amphitheatre this spring and Wilcox Park in central Dutchess will be improved by adding a new pavilion overlooking the waterfront.
Initial plans for the new Quiet Cove park include a re-vamped a car-top boat ramp for non-motorized boating and a deep water bulkhead for access by larger educational vessels for example the Clearwater, the Half-Moon and research ships associated with the study of the Hudson River. There will also be picnic and fishing areas, public restrooms, a playground, upland parking and eventually a community meeting room.
The amphitheatre planned for Bowdoin Park is similar in design to the one constructed in the City of Poughkeepsie at Waryas Park but will be one and one-half times larger, adequate to accommodate the Hudson Valley Philharmonic. The idea is to utilize this annually for Fourth of July celebrations. The facility would be usable as a pavilion seasonally, but with the addition of lights, sound and backdrop, it becomes another valuable performance venue with a spectacular view of the Hudson River.
The construction of an open-air pavilion at Wilcox Park in the Town of Milan will overlook the waterfront there giving patrons a chance to take advantage of the variety of activities available at the swimming beach and the boating and fishing lake. The new pavilion will also include restrooms.
“Our County’s parks system is one of our most valued amenities. Our plan is these capital investments will both maintain and enhance the parks and trails in Dutchess, improving the quality of life for our residents,” said Steinhaus.
With the announcement in 1997 that the State of New York intended to dispose of most of the Hudson River Psychiatric Center for private redevelopment, County Executive Steinhaus asked Governor Pataki to retain approximately 27 acres west of Route 9 for river access, including nearly 5 acres of land on the river’s side of the train tracks.
Since available land west of the railroad tracks is quite rare and the Town of Poughkeepsie has no existing public access points to the river, Steinhaus set up a broad-based committee in 1999 to explore future use options, access and site design issues. Preliminary plans for the site were put on hold for several years while the property was being considered as one of the potential locations for the Rivers and Estuaries Center. With the announcement in April 2003 that the Rivers and Estuaries Center was successfully recruited to Beacon, the County Executive reactivated discussions with the state to convert this property to parkland.
Through a cooperative agreement, the State will maintain ownership of the Quiet Cove land and oversee the conversion of the property to a riverfront park by Dutchess County while the County has agreed to improve and maintain the property.
The measure to bond the parks improvements funding will go before Dutchess County Legislature at their January Board Meeting.
Quiet Cove improvements are slated to be phased in over a three-year period with public access available in 2005.