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Bethlehem town board hears waterfront plan

Bethlehem's first-ever local waterfront revitalization plan was presented to the public at the Wednesday, Oct. 24, meeting of the town board, and it includes plans for a renovated Henry Hudson Park, complete with a pavilion and new trails for hiking and cross-country skiing.

We have been working on this for a little more than a year, and we are getting close to making recommendations, said Economic Development Director George Leveille.

A nine-member panel of appointees has been meeting since November 2006, plotting the best future use of the town's nearly 10-mile riverfront corridor, which begins at the Albany city line near the I-90 corridor. The corridor is separated into south, central and north riverfront districts.

The south district begins at Clapper Road and extends all the way to the Hudson River.

"This area is defined by its peaceful rural nature and open spaces," said Rob Holzman of Saratoga Associates, the consultants hired by the town to work with the committee on the revitalization plan.

Holzman said the north corridor near the Port of Albany is mostly heavy industrial, but opportunities exist to create a mixed-use environment to enhance opportunities for tech-based companies and light industrial, such as a boat restoration business.

"The central area is the most complicated to understand," Holzman said, referring to its mix of open space and industrial uses. "We strive to recognize the call for balance in this area."

The committee is working on a way to integrate the Glenmont Job Corps site with town-owned property along Simmons Road that could define a potential waterfront destination.

Plans for the town's Henry Hudson Park may include a monument with a pavilion for skating in the winter and wooded trails for cross-country skiing.

"An opportunity for kayaks and small boats also exists," said Holzman.

The next step for the committee will be to hear what the public has to say about the plan at a Wednesday, Nov. 7, community meeting in Town Hall.

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