Marlboro Supervisor Scott Corcoran called September 28, 2022 a historic day for the town when the first cruise ship docked at the new southern pier at the Milton Landing, under a recently signed 20 year agreement with the American Cruise Line company. The agreement sets forth the financial arrangements between the town and the cruise line that allows for 35 dockings per year. It also contains a clause that permits two five-year extensions that the company can access, pushing the deal to a possible total of 30 years.
The Connecticut-based company offers cruises in Alaska, the Puget Sound, on the Columbia, Snake and Mississippi rivers, and along the east coast from Maine to Florida.
At a special ribbon-cutting ceremony in Milton, Corcoran thanked Eric Dussault, Senior Manager of Port Development for the company, “for investing in our town. They committed to us and we committed to them and it will be a good revenue source for us to help maintain and pay off the pier, so from the town’s side, we’re very happy about that.”
Dussault later said there are so many places of interest in Marlborough for their passengers, “to see and do while they are here. I think the building of the pier really precipitated this. As our fleet and company grows, we’re always looking to expand where we can dock and where we can go.” He said their 7 day Hudson River Cruises start and end in New York City, with stops in Troy, Albany, Catskill, Kingston and in the Yonkers area.
Corcoran said not only will tourists be coming up from New York City but also from other states and from around the world.
“I think it’s an awesome thing that we’re going to have for the Town of Marlborough,” he said.
Corcoran thanked others for their past and present support in bringing cruise ships to Milton: former Supervisor Al Lanzetta, former Councilmen Howard Baker and Alan Koenig, and Gael Appler Jr.
“They were a major part of this happening because if they didn’t have the initiative to start this, this wouldn’t have happened,” he said.
Corcoran said the entire landing area was once, “an overgrown field of trees. The Milton fire department took the initiative to come down here and clean it up and from that day this is what happened.”
Koenig said the idea to reclaim the riverfront property and to rebuild the northern pier started over a cup of coffee with a few friends and fellow volunteer firefighters.
“Guys from the fire house and the highway department and a lot of local contractors donated excavators and bulldozers and we cleared it. We got a lot of soil from our landfill and brought that down and a lot of others guys put in the grass and watered it.”
Koenig recalls Appler suggesting they rebuild the northern pier, “and with the help of other firefighters we rebuilt it in two weekends.” But he also reserved special thanks for the Weins for their grant writing prowess that succeeded in securing key funding to support their rebuilding of the pier.
“We all can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done for us,” said Koenig. “Then the Town Board got involved and here we are, so it all came together. It was a great story and a long journey and it’s so good to actually see it come to fruition.”
Lanzetta said reclaiming the Milton Landing and the coming of the cruise ships, “is a dream come true for a lot of people.” He thanked the Trust for Public Land that initiated and secured $1 million in two grants - $500,000 from Scenic Hudson and $500,000 from the NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation – that was used to purchase the property in 2006. On their website the Trust for Public Land highlights their goal of, “expanding national and local parks, building greener schoolyards, creating trail systems, protecting community forests and cultural sites – these are just a few of the ways we’re furthering our mission across the country.”
Baker said seeing this cruise ship, “sends chills down my spine because this was kind of a vision we had that we were not sure was going to happen, but as Gael Appler said this morning, we built it and they came. I am so happy that we’re standing here today,”
Corcoran said B J. Mikkelsen called cruise line companies, “and got them interested in our town that led to the contract that we negotiated” with American Cruise Line.
After the southern pier was built, Mikkelsen said, “it really didn’t take much to persuade the cruise lines to get here. I showed them around town and again and again, they said they had no idea what we had to offer in Milton and Marlboro. We’re looking at a great new future with the cruise line business and a great new chapter for this town.”
Cluett-Schantz Park Manager Tom Schroeder believes tourism will grow in Marlborough as a result of these cruise ship visits.
“Sometimes people forget all the things that happened here or all that we have to offer and the tourism business may even help the local residents reawaken to what we have to offer in the Mid-Hudson Valley,” he said.
Captain Eric Sullivan said the new dock is “fantastic and Marlborough is a great location for our guests. It is all new to us and we’re very excited to see what the area has to offer us.”