August 21st, 2014
Walkway Waterfront Elevator Opens to the Public
NYS Senator Terry Gipson, City of Poughkeepsie Mayor John Tkazyik, Chair of NYS Council of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Lucy R. Waletzky, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro, Walkway Board Chair Sally Mazzarella, Walkway Executive Director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart, Commissioner of NYS Parks Rose Harvey, President and CEO of CH Energy Group Steven Lant, Executive Director of NYS Bridge Authority Joseph Ruggierio, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, NYS Assemblyman Frank Skartados, Taconic Regional Commissioner Arthur Gellert, and Taconic Regional Commissioner and Vice President of Metro North Railroad Randall Fleischer.
POUGHKEEPSIE - The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and the Walkway Over the Hudson organization on Thursday unveiled a new 21-story high speed elevator connecting the Walkway State Park to the Poughkeepsie waterfront.
“The Walkway State Historic Park Waterfront Elevator represents a community connection and serves as another important piece in the revitalization of the Poughkeepsie waterfront,” said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. “This elevator now allows visitors to experience the scenic Hudson River along the shoreline and moments later high above with a view that is so magnificent. With more than 700,000 visitors each year the Walkway is a destination for recreation and relaxation and this elevator will allow more people to enjoy this wonderful Hudson Valley treasure”
“Much like the Walkway itself, the Walkway Waterfront Elevator is a tribute to collaboration and perseverance,” said Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart, Walkway Over the Hudson Executive Director. “We have worked closely with our partners at New York State Parks, the Department of Transportation, Central Hudson, the City of Poughkeepsie, the Dyson Foundation and many others to see this visionary project through to completion. And, much like the Walkway, this elevator will provide exciting new connections and possibilities for the people of the Hudson Valley and New York State.”
The waterfront elevator provides a direct connection from the elevated park to the Hudson River shoreline, including Waryas Park and the new Upper Landing Park; facilitates tourism by providing more direct access to the Poughkeepsie Train Station; and provides easier access for persons with disabilities and other mobility limitations to the park closer to the center of the bridge. The $2.8 million construction project is funded primarily by a $2.4 million Federal Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) grant (which was administered by the NYS Department of Transportation) and other grants secured by the not-for-profit Walkway Over the Hudson friends group.
The new facility underscores Governor Cuomo’s commitment to improving State Parks and expanding access to outdoor recreation. The Governor included a third round of $90 million in New York Works funding for improvements to parks and historic sites in the 2014-15 State Budget. Launched by the Governor in 2012, New York Works is advancing repair and improvement projects at 109 State parks and historic sites across the State.
A former railroad bridge completed in 1889, Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park opened to the public in 2009 and is now visited by over 700,000 people a year. A 2012 study found that spending by Walkway visitors generated nearly $24 million in sales and supported 383 jobs in Dutchess and Ulster counties.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation maintain and operate 180 state parks and 35 historic sites, which are visited by 60 million people annually. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.nysparks.com.