Con Edison Donates to Scenic Hudson… Parks in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow to Benefit

Scenic Hudson has received a $45,000 grant from Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Edison). The land-preservation and environmental group will use the funding to help create new waterfront parks and enhance public access to the Hudson River in Westchester County.

The grant will be paid over three years and will focus on transforming waterfront areas in Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow, Yonkers and Peekskill from moribund, post-industrial sites to revitalized riverfronts that draw people to them and help spark economic opportunity.

The Con Edison grant will support Scenic Hudson park designers, land-use planners and community outreach specialists. Community outreach is important for encouraging residents to play an active role in shaping the kinds of parks and Hudson River access that Scenic Hudson will develop. The Poughkeepsie-based group has found that when residents engage in the planning process, the parks that result are enjoyed more.

"This grant is a big boost for connecting the people of Westchester to the Hudson River and all the recreation and learning opportunities it holds. For too long the Hudson and its shoreline have been inaccessible and under-utilized," said Ned Sullivan, president of Scenic Hudson. "We’re proud to be partnering with public officials, residents and leading organizations like Con Edison to create places where people can experience world-class beauty and recreation in their hometown."

"The Hudson River is one of our region’s most valuable recreational and environmentally sensitive assets," said Frances A. Resheske, senior vice president of Public Affairs at Con Edison. "Con Edison’s partnership with Scenic Hudson will ensure that additional resources are available for the ongoing stewardship and access to this vital waterway."

Tarrytown

Scenic Hudson’s work is supporting the vision of Village leaders to create a stunning public waterfront, beginning with removal of an asphalt plant that had cut off river access for 80 years. The Con Edison grant will help Scenic Hudson to work with the Village of Tarrytown, Westchester County and a private developer to build a new park where the unsightly plant previously was. The public-private partnership will develop the Scenic Hudson RiverWalk Park at Tarrytown ‚Äî which will become part of the County’s RiverWalk ‚Äî and reconstruct the Village’s existing Pierson Park. Park construction will begin this year and wrap up in 2009, reconnecting residents with a stretch of the Hudson that has been inaccessible for generations.

The Scenic Hudson River Walk Park at Tarrytown will feature a terraced lawn, scenic overlooks, a children’s play area, and separate paths for bikes and pedestrians. Plans call for the park to include environmentally sustainable materials and construction techniques, while natural plantings will form a green buffer for the adjacent Ferry Landing development.

Sleepy Hollow

Scenic Hudson has been collaborating with Village officials and residents for nearly a decade to create a new vision for the 97-acre former General Motors manufacturing site. With the original developer having withdrawn from the project, the village and GM are seeking a new partner to construct a mix of housing, retail businesses and a waterfront park that would connect with adjacent Kingsland Point Park. The Con Edison funding will help Scenic Hudson continue promoting plans for a park that provides a green, natural area and continuous riverside walkway linking with Kingsland Point Park, DeVries Park and Philipsburg Manor historic site.

Community outreach will be vital to engage the public in this initiative, which includes resident input on renovating the historic bathhouse in Kingsland Point Park. Initial ideas for the bathhouse include an outdoor café and kayak rentals. Ultimately improvements are expected to include a pedestrian bridge over the Metro-North railroad tracks to dramatically improve access to the park and riverfront.

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About the Author: Jay Burgess