Former Industrial Site Reclaimed For Public Use:
OSI to announce donation of waterfront park to Croton-on-Hudson on March 10
New York, NY - March 6, 2003 - On Monday, March 10th, the Open Space Institute will announce the donation of a riverfront park to the village of Croton-on-Hudson, Westchester County. The announcement will take place during a public ceremony and ribbon cutting event near the park at 11 am.
In 1996, OSI's land acquisition affiliate, the Open Space Conservancy, purchased the land as part of a broader strategy to protect shoreline along the Hudson River for public access. The purchase was funded by a grant from the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Fund for the Hudson Highlands. After acquiring the 16.7-acre park, OSI entered into an agreement with the Village pursuant to which the Village improved and managed the property as a public park. In a related transaction, the Village of Croton-on-Hudson purchased an adjoining 13.4-acre parcel with the assistance of OSI and its joint venture partner, the Trust for Public Land. “We were determined to do whatever we could to save this great waterfront property,” said TPL's Erik Kulleseid.
Once the two parcels were acquired, the Village took over management of the property. At the time it was acquired, the park was not particularly “park like.” A former industrial site, the property was littered with trash and access was hampered by the presence of the Amtrak/Metro North railroad corridor in Croton-on-Hudson.
“It wasn't the kind of place you'd go out of your way to visit,” said OSI President, Joe Martens, describing the site before it was acquired and reclaimed. But a private-public partnership, consisting of OSI, the Trust for Public Land, and the Village of Croton-on- Hudson, soon emerged and a plan to reclaim the riverfront was put into motion.
“Mayor Elliott deserves a great deal of credit for his determination to secure the Village's riverfront for public use, particularly in light of the uphill battle facing many towns that wish to do the same thing. The fact is that very few towns in the Hudson Valley have access to the River,” said Martens.
There's an added bonus to riverfront protection, added Martens. “The views of the river are magnificent and rewarding to commuters who forego automobile transportation for a railroad excursion on the river's edge. The Croton project was a win for everyone. The creation of a mile long park helped protect water quality and the scenic beauty of the riverside for area residents and railroad commuters alike.”
“The Village's partnership with OSI and TPL is a great example of a successful public-private partnership brought together to protect open spaces. Croton's waterfront would be a wall of condos today had it not been for this effective partnership,” said Mayor Robert Elliott. The real sign of success, added Mayor Elliott, is the phone calls that come in from other villages interested in emulating Croton's waterfront activities.
Mayor Elliot described the recent completion of a new waterfront trail linking theVillage parcel with the property donated by OSI. Ultimately, the trail will extend all the way to Oscawana Road in Cortlandt. The Mayor added: “Our waterfront attracts all kinds of outdoor pursuits—from crabbing to canoeing to bird watching. It's a delight to see our dreams realized,” said the Mayor.
Directions to Croton on Harmon Event, March 10th, 11am. The ceremony announcing OSI's donation of a public park to the village of Croton on Harmon will take place at Discovery Cove, located on the waterfront just south of the property being donated. To get to Discovery Cove from the Croton Harmon railroad station, follow signs to Half Moon Bay. After you go over the bridge (which goes over the rail road tracks), you will see Discovery Cove on the right hand side.
The Open Space Institute is a nonprofit organization that protects significant recreational, environmental, agricultural, and historic landscapes in New York State. Since its inception more than 25 years ago, OSI's work has expanded or created more than 30 parks and preserves and permanently protected over 70,000 acres from the Palisades to the Adirondacks.
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