For More Information Contact:
Colleen Pillus, Communications Director 845-486-2000
Colleen Pillus, Communications Director
Poughkeepsie… County Executive Marc Molinaro announced today Dutchess County Parks will host two virtual public outreach events as part of the first phase of the Lake Walton Preserve Parks Master Plan process. Residents are invited to offer feedback and ask questions about the park’s future development. The Lake Walton Preserve will conserve the property as a greenspace and provide a passive recreation venue with universal accessibility for visitors of all ages and abilities.
The forums will be held via Zoom on the following dates and times:
Registration is suggested, but not required to attend. Additionally, the October 19th forum will also be broadcast live on the Dutchess County Government Facebook page.
County Executive Molinaro said, “Since purchasing the Lake Walton property and creating the Lake Walton Preserve, our plan has been to create a universally accessible park that will increase opportunities for people of all abilities to hike, fish, and explore nature. I encourage residents from across the county to attend these forums to learn about the exciting elements we have planned and offer their feedback on how we prioritize the next phases of the plan over the coming years.”
Each forum will include a presentation on the history of the site as well as concept ideas for the Preserve, such as an elevated pavilion with accessible ramp, a sensory exploration patch and classroom, boardwalks, and scenic overlooks. Additionally, the first phase of the Preserve’s priority projects will be discussed including connecting the park to the adjacent Dutchess Rail Trail, constructing parking areas, and beginning design and development of a universally accessible loop trail.
The discussions will be led by County Parks staff as well as personnel from the consulting firms the County partnered with to develop the County’s Parks Master Plan, M.J. Engineering and Land Surveying, P.C. and PLACE Alliance.
Director of Parks Sandy Washburn said, “We remain committed to providing safe, modern, and accessible parks resources to our community. The Lake Walton Preserve will be an incredible opportunity for residents of all abilities to be outdoors and experience nature. We are excited to have another great destination for parks visitors to explore."
The 231-acre Lake Walton property—located in East Fishkill and adjacent to and near the southern terminus of the William R. Steinhaus Dutchess Rail Trail—was acquired in May 2019 by Scenic Hudson and was the cornerstone of Dutchess County’s largest parks expansion in more than a half-century. In addition to the 40-acre lake that provides habitat to a variety of wildlife species and unusual plant communities, the property also features existing trails that can be easily utilized for public enjoyment.
American Sign Language interpreters from Mid-Hudson Interpreter Service will be available via Zoom for the hearing impaired and the archived forums will be available with closed captions on the County’s YouTube page.
For more information about Dutchess County Parks, visit www.dutchessny.gov/parks or call (845) 298-4600.