8 Long Dock Rd.
Beacon, NY 12508
but make you smile: a onetime urban industrial site, littered with debris and pollution, is reborn as a beautiful (and sustainable) waterfront oasis. It took more than 10 years (and close to $9 million), but that’s exactly what Scenic Hudson did in creating Long Dock Park in Beacon. When the environmental organization acquired the 16-acre property in 1996, “it was in no way people-friendly,” says Project Director Margery Groten. That’s an understatement: More than 75 truckloads of scrap metal, old tires, and other trash were removed from the former oil storage facility/junkyard site in order to make way for native plants and grasses, restored wetland areas, and a patio space created with salvaged concrete slabs (which at one time were part of the decking on the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge). And the story gets even better: The property’s circa-1860s red barn has been refurbished as a “green” building, and now hosts arts education programs for local kids provided by Poughkeepsie’s Mill Street Loft. Although swimming is not allowed, visitors can dangle their toes in the river while perched on a steel-and-wood sculpture by artist George Trakas. And the impressive kayak pavilion offers kayak rentals and tours provided by Mountain Tops Outfitters. Along with DIA:Beacon and the revitalized Main Street area, Long Dock Park gives folks another reason to visit Dutchess County’s second largest city. But perhaps more importantly, says Groten, “We hope it will get people to the river, and that they will become stewards of the river.”