Construction of the Ulster Welcome Center at the Highland entrance to Walkway Over the Hudson is on schedule for completion by early to mid-June, according to the Walkway’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart. The project includes a plaza with open and covered seating, an area for food concessions, administrative offices and public restrooms. A grand opening will likely be held in late June.
Construction of a second visitor center on the east side of the river is set to commence as soon as the weather cooperates, with completion anticipated by June of 2019. The Dutchess Welcome Center will feature open and covered outdoor seating, concessions, enhanced landscaping, a bus drop-off and restrooms.
The welcome centers are designed to enhance visitor experience at the linear park, which currently draws more than half a million people annually. “The visitor centers are going to be a great addition,” says Waldstein-Hart. “We have a world-class destination site here, and now our entrances will match the experience of being on the bridge.”
Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park provides a scenic crossing from one side of the Hudson River to the other for pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists and people with disabilities. The Walkway stands 212 feet above the river’s surface and is more than 1.28 miles in length, making it the longest elevated pedestrian bridge in the world. It connects with the Hudson Valley Rail Trail on the west side of the river and the Dutchess Rail Trail on the east.
The visitor centers are the latest of improvements that have been added since the Walkway opened in 2009. In 2014, an ADA-compliant 21-story-high glass-walled elevator was installed that moves visitors from the Walkway to the waterfront in approximately 70 seconds. The eight-by-ten-foot cab holds up to 20 passengers and 7,500 pounds of weight. The Walkway also offers interactive maps and a mobile web tour.The visitor centers are part of Governor Cuomo’s “NY Parks 2020” initiative, a multi-year commitment to improving and expanding access to outdoor recreation, thereby boosting area tourism. The state has pledged $4 million for the two visitor centers, with the remaining $1.5 million raised by the nonprofit Walkway Over the Hudson organization through donations by individuals, members and corporate partnerships.