Plans for new Hudson River park in Saugerties move forward

Town of Saugerties council members approved a short form Environmental Assessment Form at their March 1 meeting, which will be filed with the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a pedestrian/bike path that will join Eve’s Point and Bristol Beach.

The Bristol Beach Park Improvement Park off Emerick Road includes the construction of the pedestrian/bike path and a “rustic pedestrian footpath that will be founded on natural stone,” reads the form.

Approvals for the footpath are needed from the Hudson Valley Greenway, which has provided grant money, and the Army Corp of Engineers, since the project will lead to the Hudson River.

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This is the first part of a long term project to develop Bristol Beach, a stretch along the river, that includes about 200 acres of wooded scrub.

The council’s action comes two weeks before a planned public input session on the park, which will be held on March 16 at 7 p.m. at the Frank D. Greco senior citizens center on Market Street.

At that meeting, town officials along with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation will be looking for public input on how best to develop the beach and adjoining forest. Council members at the March 1 meeting said nothing will be done at the beach and park using town taxpayer money.

They said only grant money would be used to develop the park and beach. So far, the town has received two grants of $15,000 and $42,500 from the Greenway, as well as a DEC grant of $10,000.

Supervisor Greg Helsmoortel said the town has also received a $100,000 grant from the Winston Farm Alliance that will be used if any future grants require a match from the town.

“And it’s something we want to see done using only grant money, so it will probably be a long term project,” Helsmoortel said. “We’ve had a lot of interest in this, people want to see it open.”

Officials have said that initial plans include a boat launch, and an area for shoreline fishing.

Councilwoman Leeanne Thornton said officials are hoping for a large turnout for the input session to help get an accurate feel for how the public would like to see the little used beach developed. “This is basically a brainstorming session,” Thornton added.

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