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Park Celebration Event Highlights Improvements at Quiet Cove Riverfront Park
Special dedication ceremony honors local heroes & former NYS Senator Stephen Saland

Published: 8/4/2022

Poughkeepsie… Today, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro—joined by local officials, COVID-19 frontline responders, and park enthusiasts—hosted a celebration event to highlight the recently completed improvements at Quiet Cove Riverfront Park in the Town of Poughkeepsie, including the new entrance, access loop and expanded parking areas. The event featured a display of historic photos and a guided walk showcasing the Park’s historical past, as well as a special dedication ceremony, including honoring the many local frontline heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic and former New York State Senator Stephen M. Saland.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Quiet Cove has long been a favorite spot for picnics, hikes or taking in some spectacular views for residents and tourists alike. Its peaceful setting and proximity to the many other attractions in the area make it an ideal and idyllic park. As the surrounding area continues to see growth and development, these improvements to the entrance, access loop and parking areas are essential to making it even easier for people to come and explore all this great park has to offer.”

The much-needed improvements began in late 2021 and were completed this spring. Project work included a new combined entrance and exit to align with the adjacent Hudson Heritage development project and allow for improved vehicle and pedestrian access from Route 9. Additionally, the park’s access loop and parking areas were expanded to incorporate ADA improvements, a bicycle lane, and almost triple parking capacity.

The new entry area features a bus shelter and park benches as part of a paved plaza, the highlight of which is a sculpture of American flags that was donated by retired Dutchess County Deputy Fire Coordinator and 40-plus-year volunteer and business leader D. Sandy Williams of Rhinebeck. During today’s ceremony, the sculpture was dedicated to the frontline heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since March 2020, when the pandemic first reached Dutchess County, countless individuals from all walks of life answered the call to help serve the community on the front line of response and recovery efforts, from hospital and health care facility staff to essential workers and community volunteers. Among those frontline heroes who assisted in the County’s COVID-19 response are the more than 500 volunteers of the Medical Reserve Corps of Dutchess County who contributed more than 40,000 hours, staffed over 150 vaccination clinics and assisted the County’s Department of Behavioral & Community Health (DBCH) with tasks such as contact tracing and case investigation, community outreach, delivering groceries to those in isolation, assembling thousands of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) for distribution and more.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Over the past two years, the ‘front line’ of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken many forms. Hospitals and healthcare facilities, essential businesses and community organizations, and our own Medical Reserve Corps of Dutchess County volunteers and Dutchess County Government employees each stepped up to serve our residents through unprecedented and uncertain times, ensuring the health, well-being and safety of their neighbors. We are grateful to Sandy Williams and his family for their generous donation and are confident this sculpture will serve as an enduring reminder of the selflessness and dedication of our community heroes.”

Additionally, the park was dedicated in honor of the many years of service to the state and county of former State Senator, Hon. Stephen M. Saland. Sen. Saland began his elected public service as a Councilman in the Town of Wappinger. In 1980, he was elected to the State Assembly and in 1990, was elected to represent the 41st district in the New York State Senate, where he served until 2012. During his 14 years of service in that body, Sen. Saland authored over 300 laws covering a wide range of topics, including criminal justice and victims’ rights, domestic violence and child abuse prevention, protecting the rights of those with autism or other disabilities, economic development, environmental protection and cyberbullying prevention. Sen. Saland was also instrumental in the formation of the Hudson River Greenway, protecting open space along the river.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Sen. Saland knew the importance of county and state governments working together to best serve our residents. Quiet Cove is an excellent example of how successful these partnerships can be. State land once used by the former Hudson River State Hospital, the park is now one of our great Dutchess County parks and enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. We are grateful to Sen. Saland for his dedication to our community and for the lasting partnerships he forged, and we are proud to dedicate Quiet Cove Riverfront Park in his honor.”

Quiet Cove Riverfront Park is a 27-acre park along the Hudson River, located just north of Marist College along Route 9 in the Town of Poughkeepsie. The property was included in parcels of land sold in 1867 by William H. Davies and James Roosevelt to the State of New York to build the Hudson River Psychiatric Center and was developed into a water filtration and sewage treatment facility for the adjacent hospital campus. The site also housed a former U.S. Naval Academy boathouse and crew quarters, the latter of which still stands today, and was an active site for collegiate rowing from 1891-1949. In 2005, former Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus negotiated a cooperative partnership with New York State to maintain and operate the park under a 99-year lease. Today, approximately 40,000 individuals visit Quiet Cove annually to take advantage of the park’s amenities, including picnic areas and hiking trails, two observation decks and an accessible kayak launch, and the historic boathouse, which is available to rent for private events.

County Parks Director Susanne O’Neil said, “Quiet Cove serves thousands of residents and visitors per year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, residents looked to our parks as a place to stay safe while finding connection enjoying the incredible scenic views of the Hudson River, having a picnic or taking a paddle on the Hudson. We are proud to showcase Quiet Cove’s unique history and celebrate the contributions of our frontline heroes and Sen. Saland.”

Following the ceremony, event attendees had the opportunity to participate in a guided walk around the waterfront area of the park, led by Lynn Rightmyer from the Hudson River State Hospital Nurses Association, who shared anecdotes about the park’s history. The Association, as well as staff from Marist’s Archives and Special Collections Department, also provided numerous historic photographs and articles for the event. The historic photo exhibit remains on display at the park from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 6th and Sunday, Aug. 7th.