It’s been four years since the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail was announced, and there are still years ahead until the project is completed, but momentum is finally starting to build for this massive project.
This is one of the most ambitious trail projects in the mid-Hudson valley, one that when completed, promises a nine-mile trail spanning the distance between Beacon and Cold Spring.
The Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail will provide hikers and bikers safe passage through the towns of Fishkill and Philipstown, along the busy Route 9D corridor and adjacent to the Hudson River and Hudson Highlands State Park Preserve.
The state park is already home to Break Neck Ridge, one of the most popular locations for day hiking in the United States. The ridge is composed of a 5.5 mile-long trail that promises amazing views of the Hudson, and is so popular that it has its own stop on the Metro North Hudson line.
Last week, officials working on the project revealed maps and other information about the trail at Long Dock Park in Beacon.
“These are the first tangible markers in the ground that show what the Hudson Highland Fjord Trail will be and what it means to the communities along the river,” said Steve Rosenberg, senior vice president at the environmental nonprofit Scenic Hudson, which is a partner in the project.
While the trail is an exciting project for the Hudson Valley, it’s not the only one making waves.
A former psychiatric hospital in Poughkeepsie that has been abandoned and unused for 15 years could soon be transformed into a $250 million mixed-use development.
The project, known as Hudson Heritage, will create approximately 870 jobs in the community, with an additional 300 during the construction phase. The U.S. construction industry, with a market share of 10%, is the second largest in the world, and projects like this are part of the reason why.
Nicholas Minoia, managing partner of the Diversified Realty Advisors, said the proposed area for Hudson Heritage represents the “hole in the doughnut” for the region.
“It’s strategically located at the border of Hyde Park, it’s kind of the end of the line for retail development and very interesting given the confluence of location with Marist College across the street and Vassar nearby, plus the Culinary Institute [of America],” he said. “And, generally speaking, a lack of this large scale development in the Hudson Valley.”
Construction is expected to take between eight and 10 years, but the promise of a mixed-use property at such a large scale has officials and residents hopeful for the future.
As for the Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail, officials say that construction vehicles could be on-site within a month, pending environmental review.
“It’s a great, great thing,” said Bob Tetrault, a 61-year-old Beacon resident who rides area trails. “The safety concern along 9D — right now, it’s awful. Once they get the parking in there, that’s going to alleviate all of that.”