In a partnership that shows exactly what RiverWalk is all about, Westchester County and the village of Croton have completed the transformation of a blighted and overgrown property into a rare slice of scenic Hudson River waterfront where you get a clear view of Haverstraw Bay and Croton Point.
In fact, the newly paved path that now runs the length of Croton Landing Park along the river’s edge is the longest continuous segment of the RiverWalk, the trail that will eventually extend 51.5 miles from the Bronx to Peekskill. With this new addition, pedestrians can walk south along Elliott Way and all the way to Croton Point, adding another 2.75 miles by circling the park peninsula.
County Executive Andy Spano will join Croton Mayor Leo Wiegman and a group of village supporters to officially christen Croton Landing park as the newest link in RiverWalk at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 13.
The project, which is the result of a decade-long collaboration between the county and village of Croton, brings the total of miles of RiverWalk completed to 31.5, including existing paths and sidewalks. Another strip is under construction in Tarrytown, to be unveiled next summer, and segments in Ossining and Yonkers are currently in design and should follow in 2011.
“The pieces are falling into place and our dream of a continuous RiverWalk is becoming more of a reality every day,” said County Executive Andy Spano, who noted the 15-acre park is one of the few strips of land on the water side of the railroad tracks. “This project is a perfect example of what can be accomplished by working together and now we have one more beautiful park along the shoreline.”
Croton rehabilitated the southern end of the park - clearing the property and getting federal and state funding to construct a handicapped-accessible trail and most recently, a ballfield, parking lot and restroom. The county took on the northern end, providing $1.75 million in Legacy and state funds to continue the trail another .5 miles north through the rest of the park. Over the past two years, the county also added fencing to separate the site from the CSX railroad tracks and the path was widened and realigned at the southern end.
The completed park includes landscaping, benches, bike racks, an “overlook” and interpretive signs telling about the habitat.
“We are delighted that such a stunningly beautiful park for enjoying the Hudson River emerged from a dozen years of work. Croton Landing is a testament to the value of collaboration with the County and many other partners and the importance of thinking big,” said Mayor Wiegman, who noted the northern end of the property hadn’t been easily accessible to the public before this project was completed.
Several other sections of the RiverWalk are under construction. Two segments of pathway, totaling 1.5 miles, are taking shape in Tarrytown. One section is behind Kraft Food and the Lyndhurst mansion, and another in the village’s Pierson Park. Both are expected to be complete in June 2010. Another piece that runs .5 miles from the Glenwood Station in Yonkers, through the JFK Marina and to the Old Croton Aquaduct Trailway, is in the design stages, as is another trail that will eventually take a scenic loop into the Mariandale Retreat and Conference Center and through Crawbuckie Preserve before ending up in downtown Ossining. Those pieces should be complete by spring 2011.
Next in line are pieces at Riverfront Park in Peekskill and at the Dobbs Ferry waterfront. Spano noted that each of the projects is very time-consuming and complex given the partnerships that need to be developed with various private property owners and municipalities.
When complete, the RiverWalk will be a chain of trails and walkways running the full length of the Hudson River in Westchester County. Because of the lack of access and/or difficulty of building on certain parcels directly on the river, numerous inland roads and sidewalks will be used to make the walk continuous. Kiosk signs will be installed along the route to make it easy to follow.
To see a map of the entire trail, go to www.westchestergov.com/riverwalk.