Walkway Over the Hudson – keeping visitors in Poughkeepsie

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Rendering of the Upper Washington Plaza Area (Phase II), in Poughkeepsie

POUGHKEEPSIE – The Walkway Over the Hudson celebrates its 10th birthday this October. Its first decade has been a smashing success.

Executive Director Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart spent an hour Monday night briefing the Poughkeepsie Common Council on the past, present and future.  A challenge is to keep visitors in the Poughkeepsie area after the average two hours they spend on the Walkway.

“So what else are they going to do?  They’re going to zip up to Rhinebeck and leave us or go to Dia in Beacon?  While those are all wonderful assets, we want them to stay right here.  So, we did a lot of fundraising and created a marketing and branding campaign, the greater Walkway Experience.”

That was one point in a Pattern for Progress Quality of Life Study, Waldstein-Hart said

“Once we went and looked and realized there is a Southside historic district and there is a Little Italy and there is a waterfront and these are great places,” she said.

For Councilman Matthew McNamara, whose husband suddenly passed away three years ago, it was personal, a memorial walk on the Walkway, with his family.

“What’s wonderful about the Walkway is that we’re building memories since 2010, since it opened, that are Poughkeepsie memories and I appreciate everything that you do and your staff does.”

McNamara did have some questions and suggestions, including what is specifically directed at Poughkeepsie residents.

Waldstein-Hart said the vision is to make the access points at both ends of the Walkway gathering areas for meetings and events. 

Councilmember Sarah Salem asked about bike lanes. 

A good idea said Waldstein-Hart, who noted that the deck of the Walkway is controlled by New York State park officials and some coordination is needed for that and another proposal for benches at the midpoint of the mile and a quarter span.  Improved festive lighting will be in place for the summer season, and, Waldstein-Hart said, the elevator, inoperative for some time, should be going up and down by Memorial Day.