Land Protected for New Hudson River Park (NY)

Land for a new Hudson River park has been protected, which will provide the first public river access for the Town of Marlborough, The Trust for Public Land, Scenic Hudson, and the town announced today. The 14.5-acre property is located along the Hudson River and will be known as Milton Riverfront Park.

This new community asset is adjacent to the town-owned Milton-On-Hudson Train Station Park and will feature panoramic views of the river as well as offer hiking and boating opportunities. The property was transferred to the town on December 30, at the end of the Quadricentennial, the 400-year anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the river.

The New York state office of The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national conservation organization, led partnership efforts to purchase the former industrial property. Funding for the purchase came from a $500,000 grant from Scenic Hudson, and $500,000 from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund grant program managed by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP). The purchase was also funded in part by a grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the New York State Conservation Partnership Program, a partnership of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Land Trust Alliance.

“To be a Hudson River town with no place for the community to enjoy the river has been extremely frustrating,” said former Marlborough Supervisor Al Lanzetta. “Thanks to the hard work of our project partners, we are now blessed with a new park that will give us our first public access to the Hudson River.”

Located in the Hamlet of Milton, the property became the subject of a potential conservation deal after landowner Suburban Propane completed approved remediation in 2006 and decided to sell the property in 2007.

In 2008, TPL, already with a long history supporting New York State conservation priorities in the Hudson River Valley, was invited by the Town of Marlborough to help secure the property for the Town’s long-term goals of revitalizing access to the Hudson River waterfront. The conservation purchase moved forward with the funding commitment by the OPRHP and Scenic Hudson-which itself has helped create more than 40 parks and preserves along the Hudson. For OPRHP, Milton Riverfront Park complements its award-winning system of 169 state parks and efforts to assist municipalities create parks that help revitalize waterfront communities.

“The creation of Milton Riverfront Park reflects well on the strong partnerships that converge for conservation along the Hudson River,” said Leslie Wright, New York State Director for The Trust for Public Land. “Everyone-the Town, the New York State Office of Parks, Scenic Hudson, TPL-had important roles to play, and now we can celebrate a great new place to enjoy New York’s great river.”

The Suburban Propane property is identified as a priority project in the New York State Open Space Plan because it provides a means of creating public access to the river. Several groups ranging from Scenic Hudson to the Town of Marlborough indicated a strong interest in protecting the property from potential development and conversion to residential use.

“Scenic Hudson is delighted to be part of this special partnership to establish the Milton Riverfront Park,” said Steve Rosenberg, senior vice president of Scenic Hudson. “This past year in honor of the Quadricentennial, we have provided catalyst funding to help numerous communities develop parks along the Hudson. We’re especially proud of this project, knowing that local residents and elected officials have led this effort to create the Milton Riverfront Park, which will be a real gem along the Hudson. We also appreciate TPL’s role because only through collaboration among conservation groups can we succeed in our common goal of saving the land that matters most.”

“The goal of the Environmental Protection Fund grants program is to spur the creation of parks in communities across the state,” said Carol Ash, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “I am especially pleased to see the Town of Marlborough secure land for a waterfront park in 2009, the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s voyage up the river that bears his name.”

From 1939 until 2001, the Suburban Propane property was a petroleum storage terminal licensed by NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The terminal was used to store oil transported by ships and barges up the Hudson River. The site’s access to deep water allowed large vessels to connect to a pipeline that pumped petroleum across the rail line up to aboveground storage tanks located on the upper part of the property. In 2001, the terminal and storage facility were dismantled, and the storage tanks were removed. Upon closure of the facility, remedial action was undertaken based on a plan approved by the DEC and completed in 2006.

Land trusts are collaborating with local governments to create waterfront community parks that anchor downtown development. These investments directly support two important regional economic engines, agriculture, and tourism. For example, in Ulster and Dutchess counties, tourism is responsible for an estimated $14.6 million in new direct spending by visitors to those counties. Local shops and restaurants are experiencing record foot traffic as more than 400,000 people have visited the Walkway Over the Hudson, or Walkway Loop Trail, which is anchored by the newly opened and popular Franny Reese State Park.

“Open space protection is helping revitalize communities and attract businesses and jobs in many Hudson Valley communities,” added Wright.

“Thanks to the New York State Environmental Protection and funding from Scenic Hudson, Milton Riverfront Park will enhance the quality of life of Marlborough residents and improve Marlborough’s economy by attracting visitors and business to our downtowns,” said Lanzetta.

TPL has a long history supporting conservation throughout the Hudson River Valley with more than 51,000 acres protected, including recent acquisitions at Torne and Ticeteneyck Mountains, and more than 21,000 acres within the Sterling Forest Highlands.

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Across the nation, TPL has helped protect more than 2.8 million acres. In New York, TPL has helped conserved 125,000 acres. In only the last few years, TPL has helped conserve the Grasse River Forest in the Adirondacks, add parkland and improve park access in the Hudson Valley, Highlands and Finger Lakes region, create new state parks on Long Island’s North Fork and in Brooklyn, and create parks and playgrounds in New York City. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission.

Scenic Hudson works to protect and restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors. The group’s top priority is its campaign to Save the Land That Matters Most, which was launched in 2007 to provide a lasting way of commemorating the Quadricentennial. The campaign is a collaborative effort with fellow land trusts, governments, individuals and business to protect 65,000 acres of great scenic, ecological and agricultural significance throughout the Hudson Valley. Scenic Hudson also pursues its campaign to Save the Land That Matters Most realizing that preserving land provides the cornerstone of a sustainable economy for the region.