County Executive’s Corner: “Accessible for All”

By County Executive Ed Day

Rockland has taken another step forward in our mission to serve and provide for all our residents. We just cut the ribbon on a handicapped-accessible kayak launch and replacement docks at Haverstraw Bay County Park. I was joined by our Division of Environmental Resources, our Office for People with Disabilities, local advocates and representatives of the Helen Hayes Hospital (HHH) Adapted Sports and Recreation Program.

These groups all played a critical role in advocating for this project and bringing it to completion; work they could not have done without our Facilities Management Department which oversaw the project. The total cost; $167,755 with two-thirds coming from a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation grant. While we are constantly looking to improve services for our residents we are doing so in a fiscally responsible way; without raising your taxes.

Haverstraw Bay Park is already one of the most popular parks in Rockland County averaging 125,000 visitors annually. The boat launch alone averages 700 trailered launches a year and is the most used in Rockland. This accessible kayak launch, which is the first of its kind in Rockland County, will no doubt add to the Park’s popularity.

We soon expect the Helen Hayes Program, which is dedicated to offering recreational opportunities to individuals with a range of abilities, interests and skills, to move some of their offerings to our beautiful park and new kayak launch. Access to recreational activities is so important for individuals who have suffered a disabling injury or illness.

Without access to the activities we all enjoy participating in, these individuals can feel isolated. We want all our residents to have the opportunity to participate in sports and recreation. It is important not only physically but also socially and mentally.

Here in Rockland we are making it a focus to expand accessibility and offerings for all our residents. I am so proud of the work done by all of our County Departments on this project and with new Director Jacki Scott reviving the Office for People with Disabilities I fully expect to see more improvements like this popping up around Rockland.