$3.3M new look for a Coxsackie jewel

By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media

Renovations continue at Riverside Park in downtown Coxsackie. Pictured is the site of the former basketball court. The park has since been refurbished and reopened to the public.

COXSACKIE — The waterfront community of Coxsackie has long benefited from the Hudson River that hugs its shoreline, and this summer the park that is its jewel will get new luster. 

In the fall of 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a $3.2 million renovation project that will revitalize the park and the Coxsackie State Boat Launch.

Work has been ongoing for months and is on track to be completed on time, Mayor Mark Evans said in April.

“The $3.2 million renovation of the state Riverside Park is on schedule for completion in mid-May,” Evans said. 

That means the park should be ready for use for the many community events it hosts each summer and fall, such as the weekly Coxsackie Farmers Market, concert series and the Riverside Festival held in August, among many others.

The park and boat launch, which hadn’t seen work in a number of years, will get a whole new look.

“It will have many new features, most visible a very large new pavilion with tables, expanded docks, all-new walkways and lighting,” Evans said. “This enhances the already incredible park and make our events, like the farmers market and Riverside Festival, all the more better.”

The park and boat launch are owned by New York state, which is covering the cost of the project. Work is being conducted by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. 

Hochul announced the project as the first state boat launch to be renovated under an initiative known as the Hudson Eagles Recreation Area, which aims to improve public access and resilience to the Hudson River.

Melanie Lekocevic/Capital Region Independent Media The state is building an open-air pavilion at Riverside Park for use by the community.

The Coxsackie park is the first of several such projects designed to improve access to the river and spur economic development by encouraging tourism in waterfront communities.

“The Upper Hudson River Estuary, a 60-mile stretch of the Hudson River from Albany to Kingston, is a globally significant ecological and recreational asset,” Hochul said when she made the project announcement in September. “The Hudson Eagles Recreation Area offers the opportunity to create a destination unlike any other, a water-based linear park that will draw more people to the Hudson River and better connect communities to the waterfront and waterway travelers, starting with the village of Coxsackie.”

In April renovations at Riverside Park were well underway, with the frame of the open-air pavilion already up and construction workers on lifts completing the roof. The park has been closed to the public since the project’s announcement in September 2021, but should be up and running by May, in time for the return of late spring and summer outdoor events.

The open-air pavilion will host the weekly Coxsackie Farmers Market and other special events. The renovation project will also bring new trees, landscaping and seating to the park, improved bike and pedestrian trails between the river and downtown area, and new sidewalks.

The old basketball court — which was dismantled at the start of the project in the fall — is being rebuilt and new signage, including signs for boaters using the launch, will also be added.

The boat launch itself is being completely rebuilt with new floating gangways and docks to make launching from the site easier. A new kayak launch that is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act will make access to the river easier for all, and space is being added for transient boat tie-ups.

The environment hasn’t been forgotten — renovations also include a new boat wash station to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species, a rain garden to control stormwater, an electric vehicle charging station and LED lighting fixtures, according to the governor’s office.

The Coxsackie boat launch is the first to benefit from the state initiative but is not alone — improvements are also planned at other Hudson River boat launches, including at Riverfront Park in neighboring Athens.

Other boat launches included in the initiative include Schodack Island State Park, Crailo State Historic Site and Hudson State Boat Launch, which will all receive upgrades and expanded access in the future.

“This project is an exciting first step in better developing the recreational and educational potential of the Hudson River,” State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said when the project was announced in September. “New York state’s work to foster cleaner air and water, and protect open space, has helped lead to the return of growing numbers of bald eagles to the Hudson River Valley. The Hudson Eagles Recreation Area will celebrate this tremendous environmental accomplishment, improve access for active recreational groups, increase resiliency and inspire more New Yorkers to appreciate and protect their natural world.”

The Riverside Park renovations have been welcomed by elected officials as a way to build on the relationship between the community and the river that has been so vital to its history and growth.

“Revitalizing the Coxsackie State Boat Launch and Riverside Park to its fullest potential is a critical effort that will enhance public access to the incredible range of nature-based activities our region has to offer and strengthen economic ties to our local business community,” state Sen. Michelle Hinchey, D-46, said when the project was announced. “Now more than ever, we recognize the immense value of our parks and recreation spaces as areas that advance the health and well-being of our upstate communities and the overall economic and environmental vitality of our region. I am thrilled that this project is moving forward so this beautiful stretch of land and river can continue to be enjoyed by our Greene County community for years to come.”

The goal of the multi-million-dollar renovation project is to draw visitors and economic development to the Hudson River waterfront.

The project will benefit the community in many ways, Assemblyman Chris Tague, R-102, said.

“This project is a welcome one that will increase the utility and enjoyability of the Coxsackie State Boat Launch and Riverside Park for families throughout the region and make it more resilient to wear and tear so that future generations can continue to enjoy all it has to offer,” Tague said. “I am particularly excited about the addition of a pavilion that will give the park a greater ability to host farmers markets and other special events, giving the community opportunities to come together and see what local farmers, craftsmen and businesses have to offer.”

The Coxsackie project is part of the NY Parks 100 initiative, a $440 million capital investment over four years to address overcrowding, promote visitation by underserved communities, enhance local recreation and tourism, and protect environmental and historic assets, according to the state.

NYVT Media
Author: NYVT Media

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