Walkway Awarded $2.5 Million Empire State Development Grant
Governor Paterson held a press conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to announce five awards in the first round of funding under the Empire State Development Corporation's Downstate Revitalization Fund.
"We must continue to make smart investments and utilize our State's assets to foster sustainable growth and create jobs," said Governor Paterson, who presided over the Walkway's grand opening celebration on Oct. 3. "The Downstate Revitalization Fund focuses on the interests of the small business communities that are at the heart of our economy. The road to fiscal recovery begins by building on their successes and by keeping our entrepreneurs, workers and families in New York."
The $2.5 million grant will pay for core construction costs associated with the $38.8 project as well as additional steel repairs that engineering studies identified as needing to be addressed within the next five years.
"This significant grant award comes at a critical moment in the Walkway's 'Build a Bridge' capital campaign. This grant will fund core construction costs and new steel repairs that will add jobs and reduce future maintenance costs at the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park," said Walkway's Executive Director Amy Husten. "We are extremely grateful to Governor Paterson and the Empire State Development Corporation for recognizing the profound significance that the Walkway will have upon the Hudson Valley and the State of New York as a world-class tourist attraction and an economic development initiative."
Robert Dyson, President of the Dyson Foundation, praised Governor Paterson and state leaders for their support. "This grant award is further positive reinforcement that the Walkway represents a powerful economic development initiative that will bestow significant benefits upon the City of Poughkeepsie, the Town of Lloyd and the entire Mid-Hudson Valley. We are extremely pleased that Governor Paterson and the Empire State Development Corporation have made this important investment in the future economy of our region," said Mr. Dyson. The Dyson Foundation, based in Millbrook, NY, donated more than $2 million to the Walkway effort and provided in kind professional and administrative support for the project.
Carol Ash, Commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation said, "In the few weeks since it officially opened the Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park has been receiving fantastic reviews. This new, overwhelmingly popular destination is a testament to the public-private partnership that led to this tremendous bridge transformation. At the same time, it underscores the importance of parks and recreational facilities as economic drivers in our communities."
The ESD grant award brings the total amount raised in support of the Walkway construction effort to $30.7 million since the nonprofit group embarked upon the project less than two years ago. Fundraising to pay for the core construction costs will continue, said Ms. Husten.
In addition to the Empire State Development Corporation, major funders for the Walkway Over the Hudson project include New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the Dyson Foundation, the New York State Department of Transportation, the New York State Senate (office of Senator Steve Saland) and Scenic Hudson.