BETHLEHEM With a recent grant from the state and matched funding from the town, the Henry Hudson Park will soon see some much-needed updates.
Along with the park, every piece of land that the Hudson River touches in Bethlehem will be examined, with goals to encourage economic activity, revitalize existing structures and increase public use.
“We have a wonderful privilege here in Bethlehem, that we are one of 11 counties that lie on the Hudson River. We want to make sure all of our plans maximize the benefits that we get from being a Hudson River community,” said Supervisor John Clarkson.
With a $37,500 grant from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC)awards and a matching donation from the town, $75,000 total is devoted to the project. The town applied in June, and grant recipients were announced Tuesday, Dec. 15.
Bicycle paths, additional pavilions, updates to the shoreline and improved parking at the Henry Hudson Park are all possible fund sources, as well as new zoning to encourage economic growth, especially in the area near the Port of Albany.
“We’ll take a look at current zoning and have conversation with the community about development along Route 144,” said Town Planning Director Rob Leslie.
Existing facilities at the Henry Hudson Park include a playground, volleyball court, horseshoes, gazebo, pavilion, grills and picnic area, which may also see revitalization.
While an advisory group will decide, using public input, where to allocate the funds, the project most assuredly receiving fund attention is the deteriorating shoreline embankment near the park, which according to Leslie, was built several decades ago.
A study conducted between 2006 and 2009 examined methods of shoreline stabilization, but “it has been some time since the town looked for ways revitalize, and use that space,” said Leslie.
Climate change and changing water levels as the source of deterioration of the existing embankment, which he estimates was built several decades ago.
At that time, estimates for repairs to the embankment were in the $2 million range