City seeks grant for rail trail staircase and mini park
The Common Council has acted to seek $40,000 from Hudson River Valley Greenway for construction of a stairway to connect the Kingston Point Rail Trail to street level where a tunnel passes under the intersection of Delaware and Hasbrouck avenues.
The funding request was approved during a meeting earlier this week and comes following a caucus at which city lawmakers were told the trail access would be on the south west side of the tunnel.
“We have (Community Development Block Grant) funds already dedicated to repairing sidewalks at that node,” city grants manager Kristen Wilson said.
“It’s basically a location along the rail trail where there would be benches, some sort of education, a trail head sign,” she said. “It’s basically a way to enter the rail trail.” The 35-foottall staircase will reduce the length that trail users have to get out of the section that runs a combined 1,000 feet for the tunnel and adjacent ravine. They said the nearest exit off the trail is about 450 feet to the west of the tunnel or 400 feet to the east of the tunnel.
Wilson said there would need to be a $10,000 match by the city if it is awarded a Greenway grant, but the funds would come from the previous block grant.
In the application, officials wrote that the stairs would be part of a small park that includes picnic tables, lighting, and a parking area. The project has a $103,664 budget. “It will be a pocket park in a neighborhood where the nearest park is (0.75 miles) or farther away on challenging terrain or through dangerous infrastructure (that is) not a walkable distance for children, the elderly or people with disabilities,” officials wrote. Wilson said that, ultimately, there would be efforts to fund a second small park on the east side of the tunnel.
“On the other side of the tunnel, there is a plan for an amphitheater,” she said. “For this particular application, there wasn’t enough money to apply for it.”
The rail trail is proposed to be 1.5 miles long using the former Ulster & Delaware tracks between Midtown and the Rondout. In the application for Greenway funding, officials said they would like to have the trail become part of environmental education efforts.
“The city would like to incorporate permaculture principles in the design in order to incorporate edibles into the vegetation,” they wrote. “In the future, at several of the trail nodes, the city would like to incorporate ... a community orchard into the (Kingston Point Rail Trail) linear park system.”