The good news for Hudson River-traversing pedestrians and cyclists keeps getting better. Just one week after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced funding to start mapping out the highly anticipated SkyWalk connecting Greene and Columbia counties, Cuomo was in Poughkeepsie this morning to unveil that the popular Walkway Over The Hudson will receive $4 million in state aid to help build two gateway visitor centers on opposite sides of the bridge.
The declaration is part of Cuomo’s NY Parks 2020 initiative, a $900 million project that aims to improve tourist attractions across the state. During this morning’s speech, Cuomo admitted to being astonished by the Hudson Walkway’s success and boasted that it harbored “even more potential in the walkway.”
The proposed eastern center (mockups can be seen here) will receive $3 million from the State and feature a brand new amphitheater with indoor seating for special events. The Poughkeepsie gateway will also feature a new bus drop-off, upgraded pathways in and out of the park, new signs, and updated landscaping. On the western end in the Town of Lloyd, the new gateway visitor center will include food vendors, indoor and outdoor seating, a bus drop-off, and even a dog-friendly water fountain. Both centers will be energy efficient and utilize environmentally friendly practices like LED lighting, insulated building shells, and modern heating and air conditioning. The building on the western end will also receive solar panels for the center. The State will award $1 million to the western gateway and the remaining $1.5 million needed to complete the project will be raised by the nonprofit. Construction for the two visitor centers is set to begin in 2017.
For the time being, Walkway enthusiasts can head out to its second annual Marathon Race Series (with 5K, half- and full-marathons on the slate) this Sunday, as it’s not too late to sign up. Or you can simply take a stroll any given weekend, pending visitor centers notwithstanding, and enjoy this.