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Dutchess County, Scenic Hudson Partner to Create Urban Trail Network
New trails on former CSX Rail Line in City and Town of Poughkeepsie will link to Dutchess Rail Trail and Poughkeepsie Waterfront

Published: 7/9/2019

For More Information Contact:

Colleen Pillus, (845) 486-2000

Poughkeepsie, NY… In collaboration with Scenic Hudson, Dutchess County is proposing an urban trail system, utilizing CSX rail line property in the City and Town of Poughkeepsie. It will link to the popular William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail as well as provide connections to the Poughkeepsie waterfront, parks, local businesses, restaurants, educational institutions, major development projects (including Hudson Heritage) and tourism destinations such as Walkway Over the Hudson.    

County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro said, “Linear trails link neighborhoods and people in a transformative way.   We have seen an outpouring of positive response for all our trail projects as our rail trails create accessibility and connections that have a truly positive impact of peoples’ lives.    We are grateful to partner with Scenic Hudson on this latest venture and look forward to creating this urban trail system.”

Scenic Hudson is in contract to purchase five parcels in the City and Town of Poughkeepsie from CSX with approximately 2.5 miles of former rail line.   Once all county approvals are in place, Scenic Hudson will assign its contract to the County, which will take title directly from CSX and begin design planning for development of the urban trail network.

Scenic Hudson Land Trust Executive Director Steve Rosenberg said, “Scenic Hudson is guided by a vision to strengthen communities by linking people with one another and to their riverfronts and other important places where they live.  Through this partnership with Dutchess County, we can create new connections between Poughkeepsie’s north side and the beautiful Poughkeepsie waterfront.    We thank County Executive Molinaro and the County Legislature for the successful partnership we have established that has resulted in so many new opportunities such as this urban trail system as well as our recent collaboration to create Lake Walton Preserve.”

County Executive Molinaro has submitted a resolution to the County Legislature for authorization for the County to accept the property, totaling just over 24 acres.  The resolution request includes $98,000 of funding for necessary environmental evaluations, closing costs and other related fees and legal expenses to acquire the parcels.   The property closing is expected to occur by early fall.
Development plans will be necessary to identify specific park amenities to be developed and what type of trail linkages are feasible.  Funding to plan, design and construct the desired recreational amenities will have to be obtained.  

County Legislator Craig Brendli, who represents District 8 - City and Town of Poughkeepsie, joined in today’s field visit and noted, “This is another great project that both residents and visitors are certain to love.  Transforming these abandoned rail line parcels into a trail network will enable us to connect so many of our local assets, including local restaurants and businesses that are opening throughout the area, the Walkway and the Dutchess Rail Trail.   It is win-win project and I am excited about the possibilities for it.”

The new urban trail network will build on the success of Dutchess County’s popular rail trails, including the 13-mile Dutchess Rail Trail, which runs from the Hopewell Depot in East Fishkill to the Walkway Over the Hudson in the City of Poughkeepsie; and the Harlem Valley Rail Trail, which begins at the Wassaic Trail Station in Amenia and, when the 8-mile Phase IV segment currently under construction is complete next year, will extend 23 miles to the Town of Ancram in Columbia County. 

This new urban trail system is the latest of major improvements for Dutchess County Parks System.   Earlier this year, the County acquired, through a partnership with Scenic Hudson, 230 acres at Lake Walton and surrounding property in East Fishkill, adjacent to the Dutchess Rail Trail. It will be developed into a universally accessible park dedicated to passive recreation, with trails, viewing areas, and water access for individuals of all abilities.

Additionally, all-new seating was installed at Dutchess Stadium for the start of the Hudson Valley Renegades’ 2019 summer baseball season, and a second waterfront deck and kayak launch was built at Quiet Cove Riverfront Park.  The County is also in the midst of finalizing its Parks Master Plan, which outlines priority projects, based on resident and visitor feedback, for each of the County’s seven parks for the next several years.

For more information about Dutchess County’s award-winning parks is available at