PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- It was an event that was 15 years in the making.
The City of Peekskill and Scenic Hudson broke ground on the $3.6 million Scenic Hudson Park at Peekskill Landing on Wednesday, adjacent to Riverfront Green Park and right on the waterfront.
The city hopes that the new park will encourage more waterfront development and bring more people to experience Peekskill's waterfront. Scenic Hudson initially acquired the land from a developer in 1998 and spent 15 years planning and developing the property along with securing grants from the state.
"Today signifies a major milestone for Peekskill and the beginning of a multi-year multi-phase waterfront revitalization," Mayor Mary Foster said. "This park helps the city fulfill its promise of making Peekskill a great place to live, work, visit and enjoy."
In 2010, a $1.1 million grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation allowed for extensive cleanup and shoreline stabilization. Funding for the park construction are coming from Empire State Development, New York State Department of State and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The City of Peekskill is chipping in $583,000.
"The state's investment in Peekskill is part of our mission to bolster the tourism industry," said Aimee Vargas, Mid-Hudson Regional Director, Empire State Development. "The revitalization of Peekskill's waterfront, through the development of Scenic Hudson Park at Peekskill Landing, will improve the quality for the Peekskill community."
A boardwalk along the Hudson will be constructed, along with a pedestrian footbridge, docks for kayaks and a gazebo.
Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, who represents Peekskill, said she looks forward to coming down to the park when it's completed.
"People will be able to come down and go walking, bicycling, boating and hiking," Galef said. "It's going to be wonderful. There is a lot of space that people can enjoy. This is a great day."
Legislator John Testa was new to the Peekskill Common Council when the land was purchased.
"Congratulations to the city for making this come to fruition," Testa said. "It is great seeing the work that has been done and knowing that the public will get to enjoy this."
The city expects construction of the park to take about a year.