Executive Director, The Scenic Hudson Land Trust
Will investigate feasibility of transforming former industrial site into a recreational, tourism and educational asset for local communities
KINGSTON/TOWN OF ULSTER—Scenic Hudson has secured the rights to purchase 500+/- formerly industrial acres along the Hudson River and is studying the feasibility of the transaction, including the potential to transform the property into a public asset that would strengthen local communities’ relationship with the river, enhance tourism-based economies and complement ongoing projects to provide new recreational opportunities.
Some 75 percent of the property lies within the city of Kingston, with the remainder located in the Town of Ulster. Historically the site of a cement mine and processing facility, the land was slated for residential and mixed-use commercial development in the mid-2000s. Kingston Landing Development, LLC, has not moved forward with the project and now has offered Scenic Hudson the opportunity to acquire the land.
Group will explore recreational, educational opportunities
The site contains numerous industrial structures, which will require study to determine potential risks as well as opportunities for public use and interpretation. It also features areas of remarkable natural beauty, including 260 acres of undisturbed woodlands, a mile of Hudson Riverfront offering sweeping views, a high cliff and ridgeline, and 37 acres of wetlands. The land sustains a broad array of wildlife.
Two long-distance trails have been proposed that would bisect the property—the Kingston Greenline (a project of the Kingston Land Trust, City of Kingston and Ulster County), which will connect to Kingston Point Park, Uptown Kingston and the city’s Rondout Creek esplanade, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Empire State Trail, which will stretch from Manhattan to Buffalo.
In addition to investigating recreational and educational opportunities that would complement these trails, Scenic Hudson will explore if portions of the property could in the future be made available for uses supportive of community and local business needs appropriate to the land’s conservation values. The organization also will evaluate necessary steps to secure the site and ensure public safety. The property remains off-limits to the public at this time.
“Scenic Hudson is thrilled to have the opportunity to evaluate this property’s potential to benefit the City of Kingston and Town of Ulster by providing an exciting new place for their residents and visitors to connect with the Hudson River and the beautiful lands along it—reclaiming a portion of their waterfront long off-limits to the public. If we move ahead with the acquisition, we are committed to working with the city and town, local conservation and recreation groups, and interested citizens to develop a vision for its restoration, use and stewardship.”—Scenic Hudson Land Trust Executive Director Steve Rosenberg
“Securing this property will bring tremendous recreational, ecological, scientific and economic benefits to the city, its residents and to the entire region. During the months ahead, we will be carefully examining the financial feasibility of completing the acquisition, reaching out to foundations and other potential partners with the capacity to assist us in this momentous undertaking.”—Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan
“The potential acquisition by Scenic Hudson of the former Tilcon site on the Kingston waterfront represents a transformative moment for our city. The opportunities for this urban oasis are boundless. Our local residents will enjoy a new green space and rediscover parts of Kingston that have long been disconnected. In addition, with Scenic Hudson at the helm of this ambitious project, we have the opportunity to create an exciting destination for visitors to explore the unique recreational, cultural and natural resources that Kingston offers, resulting in significant economic development for our city. I look forward to working with Scenic Hudson and our community partners to ensure that this long-vacant property is reborn into one of the largest and most unique urban parks in New York State.”—Kingston Mayor Steve Noble
“We look forward to working with Scenic Hudson to make this project a success and ensure that the town’s citizens benefit from its great potential to enhance recreational and tourism opportunities as well as residents’ quality of life by creating a spectacular new riverfront destination for all to enjoy.”—Town of Ulster Supervisor James E. Quigley 3rd
“Kingston Landing Development, LLC, is excited by Scenic Hudson’s interest in the property, and will be working closely and diligently with all concerned to move this acquisition forward. It is our understanding that Scenic Hudson has a proven track record of maintaining open space for public access throughout the Hudson Valley. We feel very confident that they will continue that record should they acquire this land, providing a benefit to surrounding communities for many years to come.”—Kingston Landing Development, LLC, Vice President Thomas F. Perna
ABOUT SCENIC HUDSON
Scenic Hudson has long experience and expertise in spearheading projects that bring together public and private partners to turn degraded riverfront sites into parks that offer residents myriad health and quality-of-life benefits and provide a catalyst for their communities’ economic revitalization. These include Scenic Hudson’s Long Dock Park in Beacon, Scenic Hudson Park at Peekskill Landing and Scenic Hudson Park in Irvington.
In Kingston, Scenic Hudson has long supported efforts to protect and connect people to the city’s natural treasures. In 2012, it helped convene a task force of local stakeholders to develop strategies for making its waterfront more resilient to rising sea levels and more frequent flooding. The City Council has implemented many of the task force recommendations. Scenic Hudson also helped the Hudson River Maritime Museum acquire the site of its wooden boat-building school and secured permanent public access to a 575-foot portion of the popular esplanade along Rondout Creek. Scenic Hudson’s 375-acre Juniper Flats Preserve (the former IBM Recreation site) has become a prime outdoor classroom for Kingston schoolchildren through a partnership with Wild Earth educators.
Scenic Hudson preserves land and farms and creates parks that connect people with the inspirational power of the Hudson River, while fighting threats to the river and the natural resources that are the foundation of prosperity in the Hudson Valley.