New York State Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation

10/25/2021 | Press release | Archived content

Governor Hochul Announces Opening of the East Gate Plaza at the Walkway Over the Hudson State Park

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the opening of the $2 million East Gate Plaza outside of the Poughkeepsie entrance to the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park. The expanded gathering space more than doubles the size of the pathway atop the Washington Street Stairs and provides an ideal location for community events.

"The new East Gate Plaza in Poughkeepsie will serve as a great resource for showcasing local products and enhancing the overall Walkway visitor experience," Governor Hochul said. "The remarkable scenery of the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park continues to attract individuals and families from all over and the new plaza will further highlight the Hudson Valley as a tourist destination."

Lieutenant Governor Brian A. Benjamin said, "The Walkway Over the Hudson State Park is an ideal destination to enjoy the Hudson Valley's scenic beauty and fascinating history - and our administration is proud to invest in making the park even more inviting for healthy outdoor activities and fun events. Outdoor recreation is a significant economic driver for our state, and projects like this help to ensure the long-term vitality of Poughkeepsie and surrounding communities."

The hallmark of the East Gate Plaza includes a walk-in space for guests to purchase Walkway merchandise, improved access to snacks, drinks, and other items, and a covered pavilion with audio/visual capabilities to support events, tours, and special programs. Part of the project is on property that State Parks acquired through the support of the not-for-profit Open Space Institute.

State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "These improvements at the Walkway will encourage even more people to explore this amazing place and allow them to better connect with the park and surrounding community."

Walkway Over the Hudson Friends Executive Director Elizabeth Waldstein said, "We are pleased to have partnered with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to celebrate the new East Gate Plaza, another step in providing improved amenities for our visitors and contributing to the economic vitality of the region. The new plaza and Friends Shop provides a welcoming space for our Walkway Ambassadors to meet, greet and inform our 600,000 annual patrons."

Senator Sue Serino said, "The Walkway Over the Hudson has long been a major attraction for both residents and visitors alike. and these improvements will ensure that the Walkway can play host to even larger community events, providing a unique space for neighbors to come together and take in some of the best the Hudson Valley has to offer. We thank all who made this important project possible and look forward to seeing all the unique ways the new space will be put to use to benefit the local community."

Senator Michelle Hinchey said, "The Walkway Over the Hudson is an important cultural, economic, and historic destination bringing in visitors from across New York and beyond to see the beauty of our region. I am thrilled at the increased investment in and opening of this new plaza, which will provide great opportunities to further showcase the Walkway, support local businesses, and create an even larger community space. The Walkway is an economic engine for our region and this infrastructure improvement will strengthen that mission and make the space more accessible to all who visit."

Assemblymember Jonathan Jacobson said, "As the Assemblymember representing the Walkway's anchor municipalities, I am delighted that the new East Gate Plaza is now open. This expanded entrance area will make the Walkway even more welcoming to both City of Poughkeepsie residents and the thousands of visitors who travel here to take in the spectacular views and explore the Mid-Hudson region."

Poughkeepsie Mayor Robert Rolison said, "Since its opening more than a decade ago, the Walkway Over the Hudson has been a catalyst for the City of Poughkeepsie, drawing people to our area and providing residents with a magnificent, breathtaking park that spans the Hudson River. The opening of East Gate Plaza is yet another enhancement that ties this majestic park to the city neighborhoods, and we appreciate the ongoing investments the state has made to ensure the Walkway Over the Hudson continues to be a gem and a major asset to the city."

Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro said, "Parks remain an incredible resource for families and friends to stay connected safely and The Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park is no exception. The Walkway is a vital part of what makes our area so special, drawing tourists and visitors from around the globe, and the new East Gate Plaza further enhances this incredible asset by creating another resource for the community to host events and safely gather together."

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan said, "Since its opening in 2009, the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park has brought more people and tourism into Ulster County and the community of Highland. Projects that enhance the Walkway will only stimulate this activity, and Ulster County is pleased to see the state's strong commitment to one of the Hudson Valley's premier tourist attractions."

Town of Lloyd Supervisor Frederick Pizutto said, "We have a great collaboration with Poughkeepsie on the other side of the Walkway by coordinating events benefiting the entire region that bring visitors to experience the beauty of the Hudson Valley. Connecting to the Walkway, the Hudson Valley Rail Trail in our town allows visitors to hike, bike, ride on horseback, in line skate, cross country ski and snowshoe. It is exciting that the Walkway, which has had such impact in the Highland community, is becoming an even better experience with the addition of the East Gate Plaza."

Open Space Institute Vice President for Parks and Stewardship Peter Karis said, "The Open Space Institute is proud that our efforts to expand the Walkway footprint set the stage for the creation of the new East Gate Plaza. We congratulate State Parks, the Walkway Friends group and all who share our commitment to making parks and open space more welcoming and accessible to the public."

Additional benefits of the project include:

  • Rainwater collection from roofs into a cistern for irrigation use.
  • Permeable/porous pavement material to reduce stormwater runoff.
  • Replacement of a decaying retaining wall from the bridge's original construction in the 1880s.
  • Re-use of the historic bridge posts into the railing system.
  • Energy Efficiency: heat-pump for heating and cooling, lighting.
  • Bike racks
  • More seating
  • Landscaping

The $2 million project was funded through State Parks Capital Funds, the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), and support from the Friends of Walkway.

The world's longest elevated pedestrian bridge, the 1.28-mile span of a former railroad bridge offers sweeping views of the Hudson Valley and draws some 600,000 visitors annually. More than 6.2 million people have visited since the park opened in 2009 after decades of neglect.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which were visited by a record 78 million in 2020. For more information on any of these recreation areas, call 518-474-0456 or visit www.parks.ny.gov, connect with us on Facebook, or follow on Instagram, Twitter or on the State Parks blog.