Tourism revenue up 5th year in a row for Ulster County

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Hein on the Rosendale Trestle
Below … Ulster County’s new Travel Guide

ROSENDALE – Ulster County Executive Michael Hein was on top of the world Friday when he announced the county’s fifth straight year of tourism revenue increases, from atop the historic Rosendale Trestle. He was joined by local officials and Rosendale Street Festival volunteers.
Ulster County’s tourism revenue for 2014 grew to just under $514
million, an increase of more than $8 million compared to the previous
year, according to recent figures. Annually, that half a billion dollars
makes up a large chunk of the local economy.
“The stats released by New York State are impressive and we are proud of them; however, we are still not satisfied,” Hein said.  “We will continue to work to attract more tourists to Ulster County which is one of the reasons for our unprecedented $10 million ‘Building a Better Ulster County’ initiative to upgrade our infrastructure is so important. Better and safer roads with widened lanes and shoulders are attractive to cyclists and pedestrians, and right here in Rosendale we improved the roadway and shoulders of Elting Road so that now the Trestle is better connected with the downtown,” he said.
Rosendale’s Trestle, once one of the world’s tallest bridges,
underwent a facelift several years ago, transforming it into a miniature
version of the Walkway Over the Hudson, with scenic vistas overlooking
the Rondout Creek Valley. Nearby Joppenberg peak is known locally as “The
First Catskill,” steeped with abandoned cement mines from a bygone
19th Century industrial heyday.
Today the quaint hamlet of Rosendale lies at the heart of Ulster County, halfway between Kingston and New Paltz. The Trestle’s linear park, long the visual hallmark of Rosendale, has also become one of the crown jewels for an extensive network of rail trails, spanning from Ashokan to Poughkeepsie. The structure is featured on the cover of Ulster County’s latest Tourism Guide.
This weekend marks the annual Rosendale Street Festival, a two-day musical extravaganza with six stages and 74 performers. Volunteer Briana Liggin, 27, a lifelong town resident, runs the festival’s beer garden and courtesy tent.
She said they are “doing something right, we’re on the right track; it’s bringing a lot of new blood to town.”
Town historian Bill Brooks also runs the annual November Rosendale Pickle Festival, which draws visitors from across the nation and worldwide.
People come from all over the country and world for the annual event that attracts some 7,000 annually.
“When you go out in the parking lot on the day of the event, you can probably pick up eight to 10 states off the license plates on the cars,” Brooks said. “The Japanese have always been a presence. We try to highlight a different nationality each year.  It’s quirky, but it works.”