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Gateway outlined for Lloyd boards

September 26th, 2012

One of the definitions for gateway in the Webster’s New World College Dictionary, is simply “a means of access.” These four words aptly describe what Jeffrey Anzevino, director of land use advocacy for Scenic Hudson, and Elizabeth Waldstein-Hart, executive director of the Walkway over the Hudson, have proposed for the Town of Lloyd – from the Walkway, north to Milton Avenue and for its compliment area on the Poughkeepsie side.

The two appeared before members of Lloyd’s Town, Planning and Zoning boards last week, to give an update of where they are in the process that began in earnest earlier this year.

Anzevino said what started out as a group of two dozen entities discussing the future of the gateway areas on both sides of the Walkway, has now grown to 70 organizations with approximately 120 people, all taking an active part in planning for the future at the entranceways.

“The idea was to find ways to leverage the economic success of the Walkway Over the Hudson into the surrounding communities,” Anzevino said, adding that the challenge was how to let visitors of Walkway know all of the other attractions and amenities in the immediate area. Anzevino highlighted the fact that in the near future walking and bicycling connections will be made, via the rail trails, from Kingston south to Hopewell Junction.

Anzevino said the gateway meetings suggested new zoning is needed in the area “where Walkway hits the ground” on both sides of the river that would allow developers to transform former industrial areas into uses that are more appropriate to today’s economy. He said what now exists in the area between the Mid Hudson Bridge and Milton Avenue near the Hamlet is actually preventing user friendly, pedestrian access because of the setbacks of the commercial structures and the reliance upon vehicles to get to them.

Anzevino said Walkway is working on “branding” tactics that will let people know what more is available in the area, while Scenic Hudson is developing conservation initiatives along the Black Creek corridor for water and fishing trails and access to Illinois Mountain. He said they are considering more trails in the Franny Reese Park and on the grounds of the proposed Wine Village development project.

“It’s an exciting time. We’re all working to put together a portfolio of parks and access that compliments the businesses that we have here,” he said.

Waldstein-Hart said that since the Walkway opened in 2009 they have had 5 million visitors. She said it is incumbent on all of us to find ways to capitalize on this significant influx to the area by using the Walkway as a means to help benefit the entire region. She said a recent study pointed out that 500,000 visitors to the Walkway each year generate $23 million in sales, $9 million in wages, 383 tourism jobs and $78,000 in revenue to Dutchess County. The study is available online at www.walkway.org.

Waldstein-Hart said the region has many facets that make up its economy and it is imperative to develop a recognizable brand that will highlight and show off all the region has to offer.

“It’s our job to market that and to tell that clearly and concisely to as many people as we can,” she said.

To that end Anzevino showed a few posters that contained symbols and logos that will be used on signage in a forthcoming marketing/branding effort.

Waldstein-Hart also announced that a bid for $2.4 million has been accepted to build a 21 story elevator at the river’s edge in Poughkeepsie that will cut the walk out onto the bridge by visitors using Metro-North by approximately 1 mile.

In June, Scenic Hudson hired planner Ted Fink to develop zoning options in the gateway areas for both the City of Poughkeepsie and the Town of Lloyd. He said the initial meetings on both sides of the river were aimed at gathering input on what visions people had for their communities in the gateway areas. Fink said the text of the first draft for zoning amendments can easily be worked into Lloyd’s zoning code and will enhance and complement the Gateway area on Route 9W. He said the next step is to create illustrations to complement the zoning text. He suggested the creation of a small committee to “bounce ideas off” to “jump start” the visual process that is needed. Anzevino added that the illustrations will be particularly useful to the Planning Board in their consideration of these proposals.

By Mark Reynolds

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