NEW YORK, NY — AUGUST 6, 2014 —A half-acre parcel that runs adjacent to the Poughkeepsie entrance to the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park has been acquired by the Open Space Institute (OSI). The property has been identified by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) as a priority acquisition for the agency. The Walkway Landing transaction will eventually lead to improved public amenities and access and allow the agency to create a base of operations and management.
“The Walkway has proven to be a transformative recreational and economic asset for the mid-Hudson Valley,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “This acquisition will lead to improvements at the Walkway’s entrance and make the park more accessible for the people of Poughkeepsie and for visitors from outside the area, alike.”
“New York State is committed to continuing to enhance Walkway Over the Hudson State Park and making it a cornerstone of the City of Poughkeepsie’s urban vitality,” said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey. “We are grateful to the Open Space Institute for its assistance in securing this important connection to the community.”
OSI expects to transfer the property at the Walkway to OPRHP which will utilize the addition as a base of operations and management for the park. The property also offers opportunity to improve access and provide much-needed public amenities at the park which welcomes more than 700,000 visitors each year. Its proximity and location have made it a high priority for the state agency since the park opened.
“From this type of acquisition to the advocacy, research and fundraising efforts of our Alliance for New York State Parks program, OSI continues its strong commitment to making New York’s state parks more accessible, appealing and enjoyable,” said Elliman.
Throughout its 40-year history, OSI has been strongly identified with its conservation projects that create, protect, and enhance New York’s state parks. Through nearly 80 conservation successes, OSI has added more than 40,000 acres to New York’s state parks. These transactions achieved a variety of goals, from creating new parks and adding valuable acreage, to providing important buffer zones and connectivity. OSI’s work accounts for more than ten percent of the state park system’s total acreage of 335,000 acres.
Originally constructed as a railroad bridge in 1888, the 212-foot tall, 1.28-mile long Walkway offers sweeping views of the Hudson River Valley. It is the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. The park has become a popular destination for families and people of all ages, and a tourist attraction in its own right. Since opening in 2009, more than 2.5 million visitors from the Hudson River Valley and around the world have walked, jogged, cycled or roller-bladed over the Walkway’s steel trusses.
The Walkway acquisition also boosts OSI’s commitment to linking the network of rail trails and riverfront parks throughout the Hudson Valley. OSI and its partners envision a 180-mile-long interconnected rail tail network running from southern Dutchess County, through Ulster, Sullivan and Orange counties to the Catskills; connecting five separate rail trails into a single, unified network.