In December 2015, the Ulster County Legislature unanimously adopted an updated policy for trail and rail uses along the County-owned Ulster & Delaware (“U&D”) Corridor, which runs more than 38 miles from Kingston to Highmount. The updated policy delineated the Midtown Kingston Segment of the U&D Corridor for redevelopment as a public trail. Shortly after the passage of this policy, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein convened a group of community stakeholders and leaders at the Riverside Baptist Church in Kingston to announce his intention to construct a new trail and park in Midtown Kingston, between Cornell Street and the Kingston Plaza, launching the Ulster County Midtown Linear Park (“Midtown Linear Park”) project.
Running parallel to Broadway, this segment of the former railroad corridor had become a nuisance to nearby commercial businesses and residential neighborhoods. The County Executive proposed to clean up this segment, which had become blighted and a haven for illicit activities, and redevelop it as a linear park that provided a much-needed recreational amenity to Midtown Kingston residents, offered a safe route for bicycling and walking from Midtown to the Kingston Plaza, and transformed a blighted and overgrown corridor into a community amenity and asset.
The Midtown Linear Park was proposed to extend approximately 4,200 feet (0.8 miles) from the east side of Cornell Street to Westbrook Lane. The proposed trail will be 10-12 wide, asphalt-paved, and fully-accessible to persons with disabilities. The trail is for non-motorized uses, including walking, running, bicycling, walking dogs, and inline skating. In wider sections of the planned trail, the County also anticipates adding community park elements upon completion of the trail part of the project.
In 2016, Ulster County was awarded $1.5 million in competitive grant funding from the New York State Department of Transportation for engineering design and construction of the Midtown Linear Park project (PIN 8761.82). This program is funded by the Federal Highway Administration and requires a 20% local funding match. In 2018, the County Legislature approved a capital project in the amount of $1.8 million and authorized the necessary bond financing to cover the County's local share. More recently, the County has received a funding commitment from the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley to be directed to the cost of the project, leaving no remaining cost to be paid by County taxpayers.
In late 2018, the County Legislature provided its approval for the removal of rails, ties and other track material between Downs Street and the I-587 underpass to improve the safety of this segment while the project was being designed and constructed. Following the removal, the Ulster County Department of Public Works prepared a temporary trail surface to allow for public use of the corridor while final designs and construction are completed for the permanent trail. Additional safety features, such as lighting, gates, signage, and cameras are also being installed. Design and construction of the permanent trail are expected to be completed by 2020.
- March 2019 Public Information Meeting Presentation
- February 2019 Draft Design Report
- January 2016 Public Information Meeting Presentation