The Ulster County Legislature voted last week to move forward with a project that will would spruce up a .8-mile stretch of old railroad from Kingston Plaza to Cornell Street along the county-owned Ulster & Delaware Corridor. According to the capital improvement program, the project will “provide a much-needed safe pedestrian and bicycle link from Midtown Kingston to the Kingston Plaza/Uptown Kingston.” It will be a “12-feet wide asphalt-paved surface that is ADA compliant and open for non-motorized uses including walking, biking, jogging, walking dogs and inline skating,” according to the planning department’s project overview.
The project has been in the works since as early as December 2015 and received final design approval from the New York State Department of Transportation in March 2020.
“It’s a great project,” said Dennis Doyle, director of the Ulster County Planning Department. “We’re essentially opening a park in a low-to-moderate-income neighborhood to access food and recreation activities. Plus, we’re taking an abandoned rail quarter that was a problem relative to crime and drug use and we’re making it a public right-of-way.”
Doyle said the estimated total cost of the project comes to $1.9 million, which includes the design and construction work. In 2016, Ulster County was awarded $1.5 million in grant funding from the New York State Department of Transportation for the design and construction of this project, which required a 20 percent local funding match ($377,000) that the non-profit organization Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley covered. According to the Ulster County Planning Department, Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley also plans to cover project additions, like new lighting, cleanup of contaminated soils in the former railyard at Cornell Street, and installation of new staircases to the trail at Elmendorf Street and Albany Avenue
The construction has an estimated completion date of late fall 2021.