The Hudson Highlands Fjord Trail is shaping up to be a whole lot more than a trail.

According to its website, online presentations and around-town scuttlebutt, plans now call for the building of an amphitheater, a visitors’ center, a “forest-net destination” and lots else. This project will cost tens of millions of dollars, require years of construction and radically redefine our town.

Whether or not that prospect sounds appealing, the residents of Philipstown should be informed and get involved. To that end, the Philipstown Town Board will hold a workshop about the Fjord Trail on Wednesday (March 23) at 7:30 p.m. If you’re interested in the future of this community, please consider attending.

Ned Rauch, Garrison

Behind The Story

Type: Opinion

Opinion: Advocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the author/producer’s interpretation of facts and data.

This piece is by a contributor to The Current who is not on staff. Typically this is because it is a letter to the editor or a guest column.

One reply on “Letter: Fjord Trail”

  1. I manage large capital construction projects professionally. There are certain procedures and requirements that are glaringly absent from this Garden of Eden, that are required for much smaller projects. Note the website for this “world-class linear park” is “still under construction.” For the record, it’s counterintuitive for a website for a “world-class linear park” to be “still under construction.” That’s OK for, say, a mom-and-pop ice cream store, but not a partner of a major infrastructure project. We should heed the signs of incompetency.

    This project does not seem to benefit of traditional capital construction due diligence — environmental impact, SEQRA studies, bonding, unless the information isn’t disclosed — as is policy in Putnam County political boardrooms.

    The website imparts very little information, other than a bit of eye-candy, such as how and where the trail will navigate over waterways. Perhaps the workshop will enlighten.

    The project does seem not take into account service and maintenance budgets for the project lifecycle; increased traffic and policing; problematic access for EMS or amenities to support the project (such as parking in Cold Spring, and along Route 9 — the puny planned lots can only serve as a small consolation); or impact on the lower village quality of life, which is already suffocating from the annual mass inundation of tourists. There simply isn’t sufficient infrastructure to multiply the number of hikers and tourist to the lower village, which can’t manage the status quo.

    I detect an absence of due diligence in the planning and oversight that we can blame the former overwhelmingly unpopular Merandy administration. The project should not have been allowed to metastasize without such efforts.

    My hope is that the new Cold Spring leaders appoint a capable representative to monitor and negotiate the process, which shows all the trimmings of a typical megaflop.

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