The Verplanck Waterfront Preservation Committee was formed in 1990 when public access to the Steamboat Dock and Hudson River was threatened. It was then, when a small group of local citizens formed a grass-roots organization entitled the Verplanck Waterfront Preservation Committee (VWPC) to protect and enhance this historic area. The Verplanck Residents Association has been in existence since the 1940’s and has gone through several restructurings over the years. This timeline only reflects the more recent efforts of the VWPC and the VRA. Since 2001, the VWPC combined with the Verplanck Residents Association (VRA). TIMELINE OF EFFORTS 1990 When public access to the Steamboat Dock and beach are threatened, a grass-roots group of local citizens formed the Verplanck Waterfront Preservation Committee and sought the help of others. 1991 Enlisted the help of Scenic Hudson and Clearwater Environmental Groups. James Martin gifts to the Town 26 acres of adjacent waterfront property. Cortlandt Town Board votes to protect public access to Steamboat Dock. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) discussions begin. 1992 Cortlandt town Board allocated $100,000 to the Steamboat project. The former Hudson River Boat Sales property located at the end of Broadway is acquired by the Town of Cortlandt with the aid of Scenic Hudson. 1993 Hudson River Shoreline Task Force is formed. Grant from Scenic Hudson Improvement Fund is awarded. Cortlandt Hires Cavendish Partnership to study the area. VWPC conducts the first of many resident informational forums. Cavendish Partnership completes recreational Master Plan 1994 Town Board dedicates the Town of Cortlandt Shoreline Trail. Shoreline plans submitted to NYSDEC/Army Corps of Engineers and Town Board awards $50,000 for shoreline stabilization project. Steamboat Dock improvement is awarded a $133,000 grant. RFP for design services for the dock project is conducted. 1995 Shoreline restoration work takes place with the help of many volunteers. Cavendish engineers the plans for the rehabilitation of the Dock. Town Board names the park “Steamboat Riverfront Park” Cavendish conducts public informational hearings A proposed sidewalk entitled "Riverwalk" connecting Steamboat Dock to Kings Ferry road is awarded an ISTEA Grant for $285,000. 1996 VWPC organizes the sales of personalized bricks which raised over $16,000 for benches and lights at Steamboat dock. The Waterfront Project is featured at the Association of Towns in NYC. The upper parking area is created to the left of the Overlook. Plans for construction of a fishing pier begin with NYSDEC. Design work begins on the Riverwalk (Verplanck Pedestrian Trail). Construction commenced at the Steamboat Dock (September 10, 1996) 1997 Construction is completed at the Dock and benches and lights are installed utilizing the funds raised from brick sales. Broadway Overlook project is awarded a $70,000 CDBG Grant. The project at Steamboat Riverfront Park is awarded the prestigious “Westchester Planning Federation Award”. The Steamboat Dock “Re-Dedication Ceremony” is held. 1998 Design discussions begin for the Overlook Project at the end of Broadway Planned Budget costs of Overlook are set at $150,000 Engineering consultant hired to review dock settling problem. Soil monitoring wells are installed as part of the Federal Brownfields Cleanup at the grassy area in front of the Overlook. Informational meetings are held on the Overlook, Riverwalk and Brownfields Cleanup. First discussions are held about the possible location of a future gazebo/pavilion. 1999 NYSDEC completes design for new fishing pier. Overlook construction is complete and a grand opening ceremony held. Riverwalk plans are revised to show two options – one with a connection to Fifth Street and one with a connection to Kings Ferry Road. Residents strongly favor the connection to Kings Ferry Road. Decision is made to stick to Kings Ferry Road connection only 2000 NYSDEC completes the construction of a new fishing pier. Steamboat Dock settlement problem is addressed by Cortlandt Engineering. Informational meeting is held on final Riverwalk design. Riverview Avenue becomes a “one-way” street from Kings Ferry Road to allow ample space for sidewalk/Riverwalk. Brownfields cleanup and monitoring continues with NYSDEC oversight. The VWPC mourns the loss of one of our founding members - Fred Napurski. The Riverwalk Project is the recipient of the NYS Waterfront Re-Discovery Award. 2001 Applied to NYS for grants for the Broadway Streetscape Project. Cleanup around clayhole is completed with Riverwalk and for the first time in years, people can appreciate the view. The VWPC mourns the loss of another of its founding members - Mrs. Marie Pritchard, who chaired the VWPC for 11 years. TB authorizes the demolition of the dilapidated Campbell house. Plans for the construction of a picnic pavillion/gazebo in its place on Steamboat dock to be named in memory of Mrs. Marie Pritchard. Brownfields reclamation project continues with NYSDEC oversight. NYS approves the Riverwalk final design (7 years after project start). Applied to NYS for Kings Ferry Road Sidewalks from the intersection of Riverview Avenue to the Hendrick Hudson Library to improve pedestrian safety. 2002 Riverwalk (Riverview Avenue sidewalk) construction is complete. Broadway Streetscape plan is funded by a matching grant of $520,000 ( ½ from the State, ½ from the Town) Kings Ferry Road/Lake Meahagh Sidewalk is awarded a grant through the Transportation Efficiency Act for a total of $410,000. Residents meet to discuss design ideas for both Broadway Streetscape and King Ferry Road sidewalk projects. June 29, 2002 – the Marie Pritchard Pavillion is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Marie Pritchard who led the firght to preserve Steamboat Dock. 2003 Authorization to seek design proposal for Broadway Streetscape. Several resident meetings are held to review different designs proposals for Broadway. Residents reject idea of adding “Boulevard Islands” and instead choose smaller roadway width and more plantings which will encourage traffic calming. Surveying is authorized for Broadway from River to 16th Street. NYSDEC Brownfields monitoring continues at the Overlook. 2004 NYSDEC determines that enhanced remediation is needed at Brownfields site near Overlook. TB hires Clough Harbour to oversee the remediation project Remediation of Grassy Area will include a geotextile fabric new soil across the entire site. Public forum held with NYSDEC, Town of Cortlandt to review status of brownfields. Meeting held with Westchester County discussing CDBG funded improvements at Lake Meahagh Park off Westchester Avenue). Cortlandt funds “Welcome to Verplanck” signs are installed in three locations. Broadway Streetscape is cut into “Phases”. Phase I to be from 5th to 8th streets, Phase II from the River to 5th and Phase III from 8th Street to 16th street. 2005 Residents offer specific visions for improvements at Lake Meahagh Park including basketball court, sailing school, and skateboarding equipment. Cortlandt agrees to install port-o-san at Steamboat Dock Consultants are hired to test soil at Lake Meahagh Park (Westchester Avenue). Debris at Meahagh Park is determined to have been present under the ground for many years and will need to be remediated before the park plans can proceed. VRA Supports “Tree Inventory” Grant in Verplanck Recently improved Old Pond Park (8th Street Playground) is burned by fire. Town Board holds special meeting in Verplanck and authorize immediate re-construction at the park. VRA website is launched. 2006 Brownfields geo-textile fabric project is begun. Clough Harbour oversees the installation of 2 feet of new soil over the entire site. Town agrees that no future construction will take place on “great lawn” other than trees per requirements of NYSDEC. Patriot’s Weekend - a Revolutionary War era re-enactment is held in September at Steamboat Park including “The Crossing” a historical re-enactment of the crossing between Verplanck’s Point and Stony Point. Broadway Streetscape design plans are detailed in a large public informational meeting TB authorized the removal of underground storage tanks in the area of 6th & Broadway Volunteers offer input on the Broadway Amenities Plans, including landscaping, lighting, medallion design, crosswalk and stamped concrete. Lake Meahagh Park Drainage Project is completed. Surveying work and design is completed on Kings Ferry Road sidewalk project. Lake Meahagh Floodgate is re-designed and re-built to address concerns of flooding Mr. Martin passes away formalizing the transfer of 21+ acres of waterfront property As per agreement with the Town of Corltandt residents living in the Martin Mobile Home Park who are allowed to stay on site a total of 10 years after Mr. Martin’s passing. Cortlandt creates a “Staff Committee” to focus on future plans for this 26 acre area. Town Board authorizes Engineering analysis of the old Martin brick building. VRA launches email distribution list and chooses this format as the main way to communicate with its members. 2007 NYS Grant provides $50,000 grant for “historic looking” lighting at the Kings Ferry Road sidewalk KFR Sidewalk plans are finalized including new benches/railing Installation of new "Lake Meahagh" Signs. Fill is stockpiled at Lake Meahagh Park for future remediation of debris. Cleanup of the former Sturgeon Boat Club is completed by Town. Construction completed on Kings Ferry Road Sidewalk Construction in progress on Broadway Streetscape Phase I Design discussions continue on Phase II (River to 5th) Bench is installed near the Clayhole along the Riverwalk. Enhanced VRA Website is created. 2008 Historic Street Signs are installed in Broadway Phase I Installation of duratherm medallion at intersection of 6th & Broadway are completed Meahagh Park Environmental cleanup is begun. Former Martin property demolition/cleanup continues at sea plane base - Funding is sought and a plan/design is begun for a new aviation themed playground on the former Seaplane Base. $175,000 grant is awarded to the Town for Landscape Improvements at turtle pond near brick house, Sturgeon Boat club and Great Lawn area. Work is begun on updating the 1993 Waterfront Master Plan. 2009 Completion of the Mehaugh Park Environmental Cleanup Design work begins for the $175,000 landcape grant for near the former Martin house at Stemaboat Park. Additional cleanup/demolition takes place in areas formerly owned by Mr. Martin. 2010 Construction of Emergency Services Boat Launch $75K Grant Installation of Historic Plaques at Overlook honoring the Quadricentennial Celebration of the Hudson River Demolition of the former Martin Brick Building and cleanup of site 2011 Extended Steamboat Park to include the former Sturgeon Boat Club area - regraded, seeded. Hired NYSDOT approved Consultant for Broadway Phase II. Began Public Outreach Meetings for Broadway Hosted Verplanck Enhancement Plan Meetings with the Town Supervisor 2012 Park is renamed "Cortlandt Waterfront Park" Continued Verplanck Enhancement Plan Meetings with Town. Sub-Committee formed to create "Welcome to Historic Verplanck" street banners. VRA mourns the passing of Fred Johannsen owner of the Viking Boat Yard and a founding member of the Verplanck Waterfront Preservation Committee. Veterans Memorial is created in the Cortlandt Waterfront Park Work is begun on a public boat launch in the former sea plane base. Aviation themed playground is opened in honor of James Martin. 2013 Eaglefest is held at the Cortlandt Waterfront Park with co-sponsors Teatown Reservation and the Town of Cortlandt. Cortlandt Community Rowing Association is formed and plans are begun to encourage rowing or "crewing" along the Hudson River at Cortlandt Waterfront Park Community Cleanup day is held in the Spring with volunteers from the VRA and Cortlandt Community Rowing Association. New Public Boat Launch Dedicated 5/16/13 in Corltandt Waterfront Park Cortlandt celebrates its 225th Anniversary at George's Island Park. Fall, 2013 - Broadway Volunteer Clean up crew landscaping. West Point Partners proposes a AC/DC Electrical Converter Station for area of 11th & Broadway. Spectra Energy (Algonguin Gas) proposes gas pipeline in area of 11th St & Broadway. Task Force is formed between Town of Corltandt and Verplanck Residents regarding WPP and Spectra. Site Visit to Hicksville Long Island and similar AC/DC converter Station. Audio/Video is captured and shared. Meetings are held with various elected officials including at the County, State and Federal levels by various Verplanck Residents expressing ongoing concerns over the two major projects being proposed - West Point and Spectra. 10/26/13 - A 5K Race is held by Cortlandt with the finish line at Cortlandt Waterfront Park. VRA holds its annual Halloween Parade 10/26/13.
A Timeline / History of the Highlights of efforts of the VWPC and VRA to Preserve Steamboat Dock, the Cortlandt Waterfront Park and Enhance Various Areas of Verplanck