Ulster County Rail Trail Project to Get Significant State Funding - Daily Hudson Valley News

Ulster County Rail Trail Project to Get Significant State Funding

Jan 25th, 2013 | By | Category: Featured Articles

ULSTER COUNTY EXECUTIVE MIKE HEIN ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT STATE SUPPORT FOR ULSTER COUNTY RAIL TRAIL PROJECT

Executive Hein lauds Governor Andrew Cuomo for critical $2 million investment in regional tourism and economic development initiative.

County Executive Mike Hein thanked Governor Andrew Cuomo for exhibiting true leadership by investing $2 million of State funding in his 2013-2014 Executive Budget towards the development of a rail trail from the City of Kingston to the Ashokan Reservoir with the ultimate goal of connecting the Walkway Over the Hudson.  The County Executive expressed his deep appreciation and gratitude to Governor Cuomo for including the major trail funding in his proposed 2013-14 Capital Projects Budget.

“We are extremely excited that Governor Cuomo has been so supportive,” said Ulster County Executive Mike Hein.  “I want to personally thank him for his strong leadership, vision and his investment in a new New York State. We are working to create a world class tourism destination right here in Ulster County.  The dream of connecting the Walkway Over the Hudson and the Ashokan Reservoir took a giant step toward becoming a reality as a result of the Governor’s $2 million commitment to the project. This project has far reaching regional significance and will positively impact tourism, public health, economic development and will allow our residents and people from around the world to enjoy the pristine natural beauty that is Ulster County, New York.”

Governor Cuomo with Ulster County Executive Hein

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo with Ulster County Executive Mike Hein on the Walkway Over the Hudson

The funding, which is proposed under the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Capital Budget, represents a significant financial commitment to Executive Hein’s rail trail proposal, which he unveiled last October during his 2013 budget presentation.  Hein’s proposal called for the development of a multi-use recreational trail along the County-owned Ulster & Delaware (U&D) Railroad corridor, which stretches more than 38-miles from Kingston to Highmount near the Belleayre Mountain.  The development of this rail trail would boost New York State tourism and economic development, improve quality of life and increase recreational opportunities for area residents. Additionally, this initiative will create key links to other upstate rail trails and ultimately a connection to the magnificant Walkway Over the Hudson. The Walkway Over the Hudson has had well over 1 million visitors since opening.

In the months since his budget presentation, Executive Hein has met regularly with New York State and DEC officials, highlighting the tremendous potential for creating a premier rail trail network in Ulster County that eventually would link to the Walkway over the Hudson and rail trails in adjoining counties.  Hein has repeatedly cited the public health and quality of life benefits from developing a trail that links Kingston to the Catskill Park and the Ashokan Reservoir and also discussed the trail’s potential for boosting economic revitalization efforts in the City of Kingston and drawing additional visitors to the Hudson Valley and New York State.

Ulster County is currently researching trail development and developing preliminary plans for segments along the Ulster & Delaware Railroad corridor.  The County will also continue to work to identify other public and private resources to facilitate the planning and construction of the rail trail as envisioned by County Executive Hein.

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