New York Governor Kathy Hochul was in Kingston Monday afternoon to announce the first State Park in the City, planned for more than 500 acres of what once was industrial property, with cement plants and brickyards along North Street. The new park looking out at the Hudson River will be named for the 19th century African American abolitionist and suffragist Sojourner Truth.
“It is fitting such a magnificent property with its cliffs and Hudson shoreline bears the name of a remarkable woman who started life right here in Ulster County,” Governor Hochul was quoted in a release. “New York is committed to reflecting the diverse stories of its people, such as Sojourner Truth and her message of freedom and equality, that have influenced our state’s inspiring history.”
State Parks partnered with the not-for-profit environmental group Scenic Hudson to protect land for the new park that earlier had been slated for a large-scale private development. Funding for the $13.5 million purchase by State Parks was provided through the state Environmental Protection Fund. About three-quarters of the property is in Kingston, with the rest in Ulster.
Once the site of cement production, brick making, quarrying, and ice harvesting, the property already includes the Hudson River Brickyard Trail. Part of the Empire State Trail and the Kingston Greenline, this paved trail opened in December 2020 as a project of the city of Kingston, which manages the trail, and Scenic Hudson. It offers spectacular views of the Hudson River and the 150-foot cliffs of limestone and sandstone that drew cement production to the site beginning in the 1840s.
Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan was quoted as commenting, “Scenic Hudson is delighted that Governor Hochul has chosen to celebrate the life and legacy of Sojourner Truth by naming this park after her. Through her courage and forceful voice for justice and equality for all, she set an example that still resonates strongly in this vitally important ongoing cause…”
And Kingston Mayor Steve Noble said, “After years of sitting neglected, this unique urban property will, for the first time, be open for Kingston residents to access its breathtaking views, incredible trails, and beautiful Hudson River waterfront…”
Prior to Scenic Hudson’s purchase, the former cement mine and processing facility grounds were destined for development into a 1,682-unit mixed-use site, a project that had drawn significant public concern.