By Alberto Gilman
Members and volunteers of Scenic Hudson welcomed residents of the City of Newburgh and Town of New Windsor to participate in activities, offer feedback and suggest design concepts during a series of pop-up workshops in the area on Monday, November 7 for the Quassaick Creek Greenway Project.
The Greenway is a communal project led by Scenic Hudson who are seeking to create a trail and overall community space along the creek for the surrounding residents to enjoy and the natural surroundings would also have the opportunity to serve as an educational space.
The open public workshops began at 8 a.m. Monday morning and proceeded through the morning into the late afternoon. They were held at various locations that included 2 Alices Coffee, Lake Street Plaza, the Ritz Theater, Hales Hardware, Ducktown Inn Restaurant & Bar and Tacos Uriel.
Beginning at 2 Alices, Shachi Pandey of Metropolitan Urban Design [MUD] Workshop and Gita Nandan of Thread Collective greeted and spoke to customers who came into the shop about the project idea and concept. In addition to the dialogue, maps of the creek and area were available to be marked up and to add notes on possible designs.
Resident Nicholas Stroll, who stopped during the morning to speak and offer his input during the Ritz Theater pop-up, shared his thoughts on the project for the area. An avid hiker and electric bike rider, Stroll enjoys his time outdoors.“I like to see things going on in the community, you know, people getting together and like, you know, making things for the future,” Stroll said. “This is something that like, you know, our children will use, you know, and their children will use. It’s cool to see people you know getting together, getting community feedback.”
Pertaining to the Greenway project and green spaces in general, Stroll encouraged people to learn more about the various green spaces in the area and to use them as best they can while also respecting them.
With favorable weather conditions during the day, the pop-up location at Hales Hardware was held outside to help get more information about the project to those who passed by.
Nandan, who is a principal at Thread Collective and project team leader for the Quassaick Creek Greenway Consultancy Team, welcomed and spoke to residents at the Hales pop-up during the morning hours. “The Greenway is designed and thought about for local community residents. I think it’s really wonderful to have all these conversations with people,” said Nandan. “It’s been an amazing amount of, like support and excitement and interest.”
With the Greenway, Nandan emphasized the importance of accessibility to all residents, local and visiting, who wish to share in this space. Nandan shared that going forward, the Greenway will depend on further project and design approvals, funding and construction.
Following the Hales Hardware pop-up, Scenic Hudson and other members stopped for lunch and a guided tour of a portion of the creek area led by Nandan was provided in the afternoon and started at The Patio restaurant on Lake Street.
Heading into the later part of the afternoon, the library and Boys & Girls Club of Newburgh hosted several workshops for the youth and teens to learn more about the creek and overall project. Several activities included making various outdoor spaces out of a variety of items that were available to use along with additional information sheets and a model of the creek was also on display for the community to see and learn about more at the library.
Longtime Newburgh resident Margaret Williams, who had the opportunity to stop by at the Hales pop-up and then later on at the library, shared that she was excited to learn about the project.
An avid walker and reader in the park, she looks forward to a project such as this. “I’m really, really excited. I think this would be good for Newburgh in general, we need more green spaces. I think the most interesting part is that this is a body of water that connects a bunch of different like, places together,” Williams said.
The creek waters themselves originate in Ulster County in the Plattekill area, proceed south and travel and pass through the Newburgh and New Windsor area and finally enter the Hudson River.
“I’m actually really excited to find out more and you know, the possible ways that it could be used to help people and you know, if, you know, my voice contributes to something happening in a good way, I’ll be there to say something,” said Williams.
Jack Caldwell, Chair of the Steering Committee for the Quassaick Creek Greenway Feasibility project, joined the pop-ups at the library and Boys and Girls Club, helping with creating models with the youth and also created one himself.
“The trail is for the community, and this [the pop-ups] is one way to get the community familiar with the concept and hopefully, engage with the concept and enjoy it when it comes to be,” said Caldwell. “Everybody’s going to be able to enjoy this.”
A former educator in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District for 32 years, Caldwell also shared his hopes for the next generation of youth and students with a project like the Greenway. “I would love to see the kids get involved in looking, you know, following this kind of stuff, getting kids involved in these kinds of projects, recognizing outdoor space, recognizing the health of a community,” said Caldwell.
Back in early October, Scenic Hudson hosted a public discussion about the project at the Newburgh Free Library and introduced members of their team along with organizations Thread Collective and Metropolitan Urban Design [MUD] Workshop. MUD and Thread Collective were brought in together by Scenic Hudson to assist in the design and creation of the trail and to collect public feedback to better understand the wants and needs of the surrounding residents.
In addition to various groups working on the project, a previously reported $90,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [NYSDEC] was administered through the Land Trust Alliance to help finance the Greenway project with the Orange County Land Trust and Scenic Hudson organizations partnering and contributing to the grant total.
The next Greenway Project public events will be held on December 10 at the Ritz Theater and then later on January 16, 2023 with a presentation on the conceptual plan and collected research from Scenic Hudson studies. Additional details on the project and to become more involved in its progress can be found at the project’s website at quassaickcreekgreenway.com.