Fishkill project requires bridge over MTA tracks
In a letter to former Gov. George Pataki in 1998, then-Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chair Virgil Conway listed “potential actions” the agency could take to improve access to the Hudson River.
One was to collaborate with Fishkill developer Thomas Perna and his company, RPA Associates, on a bridge allowing cars to cross over Metro-North’s Hudson Line tracks to access a riverfront property that once housed the Brockway brickyard.
A quarter-century later, Perna hopes to convince the MTA to grant approval for a span across its tracks, which in a previous plan for the property was built as an extension of Brockway Road.
At stake, he told the Fishkill Town Board on Wednesday (Oct. 18), is the viability of Fishkill Landing at the Waterfront, a development that would bring 116 condominiums to the town and tax revenue to it and the Beacon school district.
In addition to the condominiums — with 10 percent of the units at “entry-level” prices — Fishkill Landing at the Waterfront would include a donation of 10 acres of waterfront property to the town, as well as the rights to 100 acres of underwater land.
The Rivercrest apartments and Overlook Pointe townhomes, which also straddle Brockway Road, sit across the tracks from the property.
With approval from Fishkill’s town and planning boards, construction would start during the first half of 2026, with the bridge and a 2,000-foot road completed by 2028, according to RPA. The company says the completed project would increase Fishkill’s tax base by up to $100 million.
Perna said that research turned up a 1929 deed covenant that requires the MTA to allow a bridge to access the property at a specific location, which he did not identify, but connecting the development there would require crossing private property.
He said his firm has contacted the MTA about the bridge and, after waiting months for a response, “we’re in the process of scheduling a meeting.” RPA has also applied for state funding to construct the bridge and road.
“We are asking for your support because this is the only way it’s going to get built,” Perna told the Town Board. “I don’t believe the railroad folks are going to be looking kindly upon a 1929 agreement.”
Fishkill Supervisor Ozzy Albra said on Thursday (Oct. 19) that “there’s going to be nothing like this on the Hudson River.”
A section of the 10 acres donated to the town could be used for a commercial venture, like a restaurant, and the rest as a town park, he said. The project would also include a promenade, said Albra, and 100 underwater acres would be preserved instead of being developed.
Albra and some members of the Town Board expressed concerns during Wednesday’s meeting about traffic and said they wanted to hear from residents in the area. “We’re going to do what the residents want,” said Albra.
Other ideas have been proposed for the Brockway property. A nonprofit called Hudson River Aquarium Inc. announced in 2000 that it had planned to buy the property from RPA and build a $50 million aquarium. By 2003, Perna was touting a proposal combining 78 townhomes with two-car garages, a restaurant and retail shops, and a marina with a boat launch.
Any development would bring people back to a property, roughly 2 miles north of Beacon, that was once a thriving brickyard that employed in the late 1800s and early 1900s many Blacks who migrated from the south.
The brickyard, which closed in 1931, also gave its name to the surrounding community, which was largely Black and included a school built for the children of Brockway’s employees.