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Bethlehem panel envisions riverfront's future

Grand plans for a future Bethlehem waterfront along the Hudson River include a fishing pier, hiking and cross-country ski trails, and an amphitheater and educational facility.

Those were a few of the ideas reviewed by the local waterfront revitalization committee at their Tuesday, July 10, meeting.

Rob Holzman and Brit Basinger of Saratoga Associates, the firm hired by the town to create the local waterfront revitalization plan, reviewed the master plan for the Henry Hudson Park. Short and long-term goals include kayak portage, a ball field, and a picnic area along with boat launch and fishing pier.

Putting in the park memorial and installing a fishing pier is the first step, said Basinger.

Other goals for the park include land acquisition to create better access.

The committee reviewed drawings that include a concession stand next to the boat launch, a woodland pathway, new bathrooms, and an opportunity to build an outdoor theater. The idea behind having short and long term goals are to create a flexible vision for the waterfront that will allow for more funding opportunities.

"When you seek grant funding, this grant will allow you to match certain parts of the program to the grant," Basinger said.

The actual waterfront revitalization area being considered for development is 10 miles long, extending from the Coeymans town line to the Albany city line.

The area is being broken up into three distinct districts, with the north end considered the industrial district, the south end considered the preservation and conservation area, and the central district, which has the most potential for development.

"The town in their document (comprehensive plan) said, 'We want to encourage growth in this area,'" said George Leveille, town economic development director.

Committee member Lisa Evans suggested the revitalization area only be two districts, comprising the north and south ends.

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